WASHINGTON • The US has recorded two sobering milestones amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Its coronavirus cases rose by 77,848 on Saturday, the second-highest daily count on record.
And deaths rose by more than 1,000 for the fourth day in a row, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.
There were 1,297 fatalities recorded on Saturday in the country, with the states of California, Texas and Florida hit particularly hard by the outbreak.
Florida passed New York as the state with the second-highest number of total coronavirus cases, behind California.
It reported 414,511 total positive tests on Saturday, compared with 402,312 a day earlier, an increase of 12,199.
Meanwhile, New York added 750 positive tests for a total of 411,200.
Hospitalisations in the state fell slightly to 646.
New deaths among Florida residents was 124, for a total of 5,777, while New York recorded only 10 new deaths.
California reported 10,066 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, higher than the 14-day average of 9,407, the Department of State Health Services said on its website.
The death toll fell slightly to 151 after two consecutive days of record fatalities, raising the total to 8,337.
There have been 445,400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California, which has the country’s highest case count.
Meanwhile, over 150 prominent US medical experts and health professionals – in an open letter addressed to the Trump administration, members of Congress and state governors – said the best thing for the country is not to reopen quickly.
“Of all the nations in the world, we’ve had the most deaths from Covid-19. At the same time, we’re in the midst of ‘reopening our economy’, exposing more and more people to coronavirus and watching numbers of cases – and deaths – skyrocket,” the experts said in the letter.
“Right now we are on a path to lose more than 200,000 American lives by Nov 1. Yet, in many states people can drink in bars, get a haircut, eat inside a restaurant, get a tattoo, get a massage, and do myriad other normal, pleasant, but non-essential activities.”
Last Thursday, President Donald Trump urged schools across the country to reopen as long as they can practise good hygiene and social distancing.
The bad news about the spike in cases is coming from many US states.
Kentucky reported 836 additional cases on Saturday, its second-highest daily record. There were at least 26,764 coronavirus cases reported in the state so far.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear forecast “additional steps next week if the case numbers don’t stabilise”.
Texas, the second-biggest US state by size after Alaska, reported 6,020 new cases, a drop from 8,701 new cases the previous day. The state now has a total of 375,846 confirmed cases.
Meanwhile, south Texas was battered by Hurricane Hanna in the early hours of yesterday, with blistering winds and crashing waves, leaving a large area already badly hit by Covid-19 bracing itself for torrential downpours and potential flash floods.
Hanna was later downgraded to a tropical storm.