US cases surge as COVID-19 spreads to more states

Coronavirus continues to spread to more US states with record numbers of cases and people needing hospital treatment despite nationwide plans to reopen the economy.

Alabama, Florida and South Carolina reported a record number of new cases for the third day in a row on Saturday.

Health officials are partly attributing the spike in cases to gatherings over the Memorial Day holiday weekend in late May.

Oklahoma also reported record new cases for the second day in a row, as well as Alaska for the first time in weeks.

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Image:Donald Trump is planning an indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Meanwhile, the states of Arizona and Nevada reported a near-record number of new cases.

In Louisiana, which had been one of the earlier virus hotspots, new cases were again on the rise with over 1,200 – the most the state has had since 21 May.

There were over 25,000 new cases reported across the US on Saturday, the highest number for a Saturday since 2 May, partly due to a significant increase in testing over the past six weeks.

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Many US states also have record numbers of patients being hospitalised, which is not affected by increased testing.

Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Utah all had a record number of patients go into hospital on Saturday.

And in South Carolina, 69% to 77% of hospital beds are occupied, depending on the region.

Utah’s government announced last week that most of the state would pause its reopening, however no state is considering a second shutdown as they face budget shortfalls and unemployment.

Many states went ahead with reopenings before meeting government infection rate guidelines for doing so.

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Fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections prompted health officials to advise the public to wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

Mr Trump, who has refused to wear a mask at a series of recent public events, is still planning to hold his first campaign rally since early March on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

However, attendees will have to agree not to blame the campaign if they contract COVID-19.

The Tulsa City-County Health Department’s director said he wished the Trump campaign would move the date back because of a “significant increase in our case trends”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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