The U.S. set a somber single-day record for coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with 60,000 new cases reported, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.
The number breaks the nation’s previous single-day record of more than 54,000 new cases reported on Thursday.
Throughout all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., and other territories, the U.S. currently has 2.9 million diagnosed cases of the virus as well as at least 131,480 related deaths. The rise in daily cases nationwide began in late May, by which point all states were in some phase of reopening, first reaching about 20,000 cases a day before increasing to more than 50,000 last week for the first time, ABC News noted.
Although cases are on the rise in most states, the increase has been largely driven by several states in the Southern and Western U.S. that have seen drastic spikes in recent weeks, including Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas and California.
In Florida alone, 43 intensive care units across 21 counties were reported to be at capacity as of Tuesday. The state also set a new record for the percentage of tests coming back positive, at 16.3 percent, on Monday, and broke its own single-day record with 11,458 new cases of the virus Saturday.
The increase in cases is also threatening U.S. testing capacity, similar to the early days of the pandemic. The Department of Health and Human Services has said the nation conducted about 15 million tests in June, but that a surge in demand may put that progress in peril.
Turnaround time for test results is also lengthening, which can potentially worsen the crisis both by complicating contact tracing and by preventing people who test positive from self-isolating early enough.
“People need to know their status so that they change their behavior,” said Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association.