The US on Wednesday saw its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day, 36,880, since the outbreak began, according to a national tally maintained by the New York Times.
The previous record for daily new cases was 36,739, recorded on April 24, the Times reported. Wednesday’s total was also 2,000 cases higher than Tuesday’s daily tally across the US.
The World Health Organization on Sunday also reported the largest global single-day increase in COVID-19 cases, recording 183,000 new confirmed infections across the world. The US, Brazil and India are the top three countries contributing to the new cases.
The new cases in the US have largely been centered in the southern and western regions of the Land of the Free. Arizona, Florida and Texas all saw their highest single-day totals on Tuesday. Cases have also spiked in California and Washington.
In Texas, new cases and hospitalizations are increasing faster than ever before, with the state recording 5,551 new cases on Wednesday. Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday announced that the state will pause its reopening to prevent additional new infections.
Public health experts have traced the surge in new cases to Memorial Day weekend.
“It’s basically the same reason for all these states: It was Memorial Day,” Dr. Erik Toner of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told NBC News on Tuesday. “And in the last week of May, most states began to seriously relax community mitigation efforts.”
In a briefing with reporters Thursday, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield revealed that around 25 million Americans may have contracted the novel coronavirus, which is 10 times higher than the official figure.
“This virus causes so much asymptomatic infection. We probably recognized about 10 percent of the outbreak,” Redfield said.
“This outbreak is not over. This pandemic is not over. The most powerful tool that we have, powerful weapon, is social distancing. We have responsibility to practice the social mitigation strategies to protect the vulnerable, to protect the elderly,” he added.