The US reported more than 40,000 coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time

  • At least 40,173 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday, a new record, CNN reported, citing data from Johns Hopkins University.
  • The count reported by The Washington Post was even higher, with more than 44,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in a single day.
  • “This is a continuation of the first wave,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Health Security, told Business Insider.
  • “Some places that might have been relatively spared early on in the winter and the spring are now facing cases higher than they had before,” Adaija said.
  • Over 124,410 people in the US have now died from the coronavirus, per a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
  • The number of dead could be as high as 150,000 by July 18, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

At least 40,173 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday, a new record, CNN reported, citing data from Johns Hopkins University, which was higher than Thursday’s daily total, which exceeded 39,000.

According to The Washington Post’s data, that number was higher, with more than 44,000 single-day cases reported. The 44,702 new cases reported nationally on Friday broke the previous day’s record of 39,327.

Eleven states, from Florida to California, broke records for the average number of cases reported daily over the last week, according to The Post.

Over 124,410 people in the US have now died from the coronavirus, per a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The number of dead could be as high as 150,000 by July 18, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is a continuation of the first wave,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Health Security, told Business Insider. “Some places that might have been relatively spared early on in the winter and the spring are now facing cases higher than they had before.”

White House guidance suggested that states should see either a two-week decline in cases or a two-week decline in their share of positive coronavirus tests before reopening.

But 18 of the 30 states that started reopening as of May 7 were still seeing daily new cases rise, according to data from the New York Times. Nine of the 30 states hadn’t seen the recommended decline in their share of positive tests. Six reopened without meeting either criteria: Utah, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

“It’s important to remember that we never had complete control of this virus,” Adalja said. “We got to a point where hospital capacity was in a better place and diagnostic testing was better, but we’re still having at least 20,000 cases per day.”

The steep uptick in the virus’s spread has now brought that metric past 30,000, and it shows no signs of stopping.

Vice President Mike Pence, however, stressed the positive on Friday, saying he remains “hopeful as fatalities decline across the country.” In mid-April, over 2,000 people a day were dying due to COVID-19; today, the number is well under 1,000.

But while nowhere near their previous high, death rates are a lagging indicator, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom noted on Friday. Over the past two weeks, hospitalizations have increased 32% in the state, he noted, with coronavirus patients taking up over a third of all available intensive-care unit beds.

“We are not out of the first wave,” Newsom stressed, as reported by CNN. “This disease does not take a summer vacation.”

We’re finally seeing the delayed impacts of reopenings

It took a few weeks for the impacts of reopenings to become evident. That’s because several weeks can pass between when somebody comes into contact with the virus, and when they start to show symptoms or seek a test. From there, processing a test can take up to a week.

This spike in coronavirus cases is probably not a reflection of increased testing. At least seven states – Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas – reported their highest-ever rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations this week, according to The Washington Post.

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards has said that the rise in cases is “more than can be fairly attributed to the growth in testing,” especially since hospitalizations have risen steeply alongside case counts.

What’s more, the percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive is now increasing in many states that are seeing the biggest surges, such as Arizona, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, and Nevada – a sign that rising rates of infection, rather than increased testing, are driving the surge. Nationwide, the rate of positive tests has increased daily since June 16, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

That means hospitals could become overburdened again.

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“When you see per cent positivity rising, that usually means that not every case is being captured by this system,” Johns Hopkins University’s Dr. Adalja told Business Insider. “It really underscores the need for states to get robust case contact tracing teams in place because that’s the way you keep those chains of transmission from spilling into your hospital.”

In Florida, an explosion in new coronavirus infections – over 8,900 cases were reported on Friday, per the Tampa Bay Times, breaking the previous record of 5,511 – has spurred the state to shutter bars that had just recently reopened.

Florida’s Miami-Dade County is reporting that about 27% of its tests are coming back positive.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also signed an executive order on Friday closing down drinking establishments and limiting the number of diners at sit-down restaurants. The state is now reporting positive test rates higher than 10%.

“It’s a paradigm shift because we’re dealing with young people, people who are going to be asymptomatic, and people who are getting infected in a community setting, not an outbreak setting where you know who to identify, isolate and contact trace,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Friday at the first White House coronavirus task force briefing in two months.

“We are facing a serious problem in certain areas,” he added.

Florian Krammer, professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, took a direr tone on Twitter.

“In April,” he posted on Twitter, “I was beginning to be hopeful. In May I thought we got this, at least until we would have an effective countermeasure. Now the panic from February and March is kicking in again.”

Aria Bendix contributed reporting.

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