The U.S. set a new grim record in the number of new coronavirus cases in a single day, with reports of nearly 46,000 on Friday.
The 45,942 single-day increase was driven by more than 8,000 new cases in Florida and thousands more in Texas, Arizona and California, according to an NBC News tally.
Vice President Mike Pence meanwhile has postponed appearances that were planned in Arizona and Florida this coming week “out of an abundance of caution” due to the virus spikes in those states, an official with President Donald Trump’s campaign said Saturday.
Pence is still expected to travel to those states to meet with governors and local officials, but the visits will no longer include campaign events.
“Coronavirus cases in Florida and Arizona are spiking thanks to Trump’s ineffective response to this crisis — and the fact they were trying to hold unsafe events in these states at all is just another demonstration of their incompetence and bad judgment,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman David Bergstein. “The truth is that the spike in these states is an indictment of Trump’s botched handling of this pandemic, and it’s clear Pence can’t defend their record.”
The national, one-day increase in cases on Friday surpasses a record set Wednesday, when 45,557 new cases were reported.
A global health expert said the increase is due to much of the country’s reopening when there were still many active coronavirus cases.
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“This is happening because much of the country around Memorial Day, and the weeks that followed, we opened up while we still had a large number of cases,” Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told “TODAY” on Saturday, adding that the U.S. lacked the testing and contact tracing infrastructure needed to reopen safely.
“We opened up too fast. We opened up bars; we opened up nightclubs; and is the combination of all that that has led us to where we are today,” Jha said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday expressed regret about the reopening process in his state.
Abbott said in two local TV news interviews that if he “could go back and redo anything,” he would have slowed reopening of bars after seeing “how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting.“
A Democratic congressman from Texas criticized the Republican governor, saying he “decided he was going to follow Trump.”
“It didn’t have to happen this way,” Rep. Marc Veasey told MSNBC on Saturday. “The governor was warned months ago that we were facing a looming potential crisis and he absolutely wanted to do nothing about it.”
Among all states, Arizona has seen the highest per-capita rate of coronavirus cases in the last two weeks, logging more than 400 per 100,000 residents. Arizona has 7 million residents, and its 30,000-plus new cases in that time period only falls short of the increases in California, Texas and Florida.
Coronavirus cases are up in over 20 states and territories around the country.
With the rising number of coronavirus cases in Florida, all beaches in Miami-Dade County will be closed for the July 4 weekend. Parks will also be off-limits for public viewing of fireworks, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said in a statement.
Florida first broke its single-day record on Wednesday when 5,508 new cases were reported, and set a new high Friday when 8,942 cases were reported.
On Saturday, that record was broken again with Florida reporting more than 9,500 new confirmed cases, according to the state’s Health Department.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the state’s Health Department identified some coronavirus clusters upstate.
State health officials are investigating a potential coronavirus exposure at a high school graduation in Westchester County north of New York City after an individual who had recently traveled to Florida attended the ceremony.
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That person “subsequently began showing symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Since then, four more individuals who attended the ceremony and had contact with the first positive case have also tested positive.”
New York officials are also looking into a cluster in an Oswego County apple-packaging plant and another in an aluminum manufacturer in Montgomery County.
This is a developing story; check back for updates.