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Reuters – More than 60,500 new COVID-19 infections were reported across the United States on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, setting a one-day record as weary Americans were told to take new precautions and the pandemic becomes increasingly politicized.
The total represents a slight rise from Wednesday, when there were 60,000 new cases, and marks the largest one-day increase by any country since the pandemic emerged in China last year.
As infections rose in 41 of the 50 states over the last two weeks, Americans have become increasingly divided on issues such as the reopening of schools and businesses. Orders by governors and local leaders mandating face masks have become particularly divisive.
“It’s just disheartening because the selfishness of [not wearing a mask] versus the selflessness of my staff and the people in this hospital who are putting themselves at risk, and I got COVID from this,” said Dr. Andrew Pastewski, ICU medical director at Jackson South Medical Center in Miami.
Stephanie Porta, 41, a lifelong Orlando, Florida, resident, said only about half the shoppers at her grocery store wore masks, though that was more than she saw two weeks ago.
Florida on Thursday announced nearly 9,000 new cases and 120 new coronavirus deaths, a record daily increase in lives lost. Governor Ron DeSantis called the rising cases a “blip” and urged residents not to be afraid.
“I know we’ve had a lot of different blips,” Mr. DeSantis said. “We’re now at a higher blip than where we were in May and the beginning of June.”
In Texas, a group of bar owners sued Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, saying his June 26 order closing them down violates the state constitution, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday that keeping schools closed would be a greater risk to children’s health than reopening them.
California and Texas, the two most populous states, announced record increases in COVID deaths on Wednesday.
California has seen cases and hospitalizations surge, even though it imposed one of the strictest lockdowns. After several lawmakers and staffers at the state Capitol in Sacramento were infected, lawmakers said the legislature would not return from summer break until July 27.
Governors in California, Florida and Texas have either ruled out forced business closures and quarantines or called them a last resort. But Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned he would impose a new stay-at-home order in two weeks if the latest surge did not ease.