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As new coronavirus cases in the United States reached their highest single-day level yet on Wednesday, companies and state officials appear to be taking matters into their own hands.
While Vice President Pence urged senators to focus on “encouraging signs,” these governors and CEOs are instead responding to mounting indications of a deadly surge across the South and West. Apple has again shut down its retail stores in the Houston area, where intensive care units are nearly filled. North Carolina and Disneyland both delayed plans to reopen, and three governors in the New York City area announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitor from certain hard-hit states.
The 38,115 new infections reported by state health departments Wednesday underscore the changing geography of the U.S. outbreak. The bulk of the cases were posted in Texas, Florida and California, while Oklahoma also set a new statewide record in infections. Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and at least 119,000 deaths, while the global number of cases has soared past 9 million.
Here are some significant developments:
- Worried about a simultaneous assault of the coronavirus and seasonal influenza this winter, public health officials and vaccine manufacturers are making millions of extra flu vaccine doses to protect the most vulnerable.
- Nevada and North Carolina both ordered residents to wear masks in public, as Virginia moves to implement new workplace safety rules that would force companies to protect workers from infection.
- The World Health Organization said the global pandemic’s hotspot is now in Latin America, which has reported 100,000 fatalities as of this week. New flare-ups have also been reported in Australia, Germany and South Korea.
- The Dow Jones industrial average fell 709 points, as investors grappled with spreading outbreaks that some investors say will further delay an already drawn-out economic recovery. Globally, too, the recovery from economic collapse will be sluggish, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.
- Amid reports that the federal government is poised to stop providing federal aid to testing sites in hard-hit states like Texas, one top federal official responded by saying testing is in fact on the rise.