U.S. Sees 250,000 New Coronavirus Cases in 5 Days

New daily infections topped 50,000 for four straight days at the start of the month, and several states are running out of space at hospitals

covid map
Photo: Martin Schwartz/PEOPLE

In just five days, the U.S. reported more than 250,000 new COVID-19 cases as infections continue to soar in most of the country.

After a month of rising cases in the Southeast, West Coast, Sun Belt and Midwest, the month of July started out with three straight days of record-breaking numbers of new cases. On July 1, new cases broke 50,000 for the first time, with 52,788, and that number continued to grow over the next two days, to 55,223 and 57,497, according to The Washington Post’s database.

Currently, 38 states are seeing continually rising numbers of new COVID-19 infections. And several states are breaking their own records for new infections.

In Texas, the number of new cases soared to 8,258 on Saturday, their highest total yet. The state has repeatedly broken their own records for new cases over the last month.

Houston hospital tent
Medical workers at a COVID-19 overflow shelter in Houston prepare for new patients. David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock

In Houston, the state’s largest city, hospitalizations have tripled and the children’s hospital has begun accepting adult patients to help with the influx. In response, Gov. Greg Abbott has closed bars again and paused further plans to reopen businesses.

California is also soaring to their highest numbers of the pandemic, with 9,740 new cases on Tuesday. Ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend, Los Angeles County canceled their plans for fireworks and closed down beaches.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also ordered bars, restaurants and all indoor activities to close in the 19 counties where cases are spiking.

“We’ve seen increased activity where people simply aren’t able to practice social distancing,” Newsom said at a briefing on July 1, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “When we talk about this dimmer switch, it’s not an on-and-off switch. It’s based upon local conditions.”

Florida also rocketed past their previous totals, and on Saturday reported 11,458 new cases in one day, shattering their record.

Still, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that the state will not be reeling in its efforts to reopen the economy.

“We're not going back, closing things,” he said on Wednesday. “I don't think that that's really what's driving it. People going to a business is not what's driving it. I think when you see the younger folks — I think a lot of it is more just social interactions, so that's natural.”

Black Americans Covid
A person in Los Angeles is tested for COVID-19. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty

And in Arizona, less than 10 percent of intensive care unit beds are available as hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients, ABC15 reported.

Meanwhile, in New York and New Jersey, the states hardest-hit at the start of the pandemic, new cases are continuing to stay low. On Wednesday, New York reported 625 new infections, marking the 25th-straight day under 1,000 new cases and far below its peak of 12,312 from April 4.

However, outdoor dining at bars and restaurants has resumed in New York City and large crowds have followed. And after seeing the soaring numbers of new infections, primarily from young people at bars, in other states, the city has paused plans to allow indoor seating at restaurants and bars.

While the record-breaking numbers has come at a time when testing is more widely available, epidemiologists have said that these surges are more than just an increased number of test takers. In several states, the positivity rate is higher than before, meaning that even as more people get tested, more people are also testing positive for COVID-19. For example, in Arizona, the positivity rate is 25.6 percent; Florida’s is 18.5 percent and Texas is at 13 percent, according to Johns Hopkins.

As of Thursday morning, more than 2,910,600 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 129,938 people have died, according to The New York Times.

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