COVID-19: US Official Warns ‘Window Is Closing’ As Coronavirus Cases Surge

The world surpassed two sobering coronavirus milestones – 500,000 confirmed deaths, 10 million confirmed cases – and hit another high mark for daily new infections as governments that attempted reopenings continued to backtrack and warn that worse news could be yet to come.

About 25 percent – more than 125,000 – of the deaths have been reported in the United States. The country with the next highest toll is Brazil with more than 57,000, or about one in nine of those infected.

The true death toll from the virus is widely believed to be significantly higher as many victims died early on from COVID-19 without being tested for it.

“COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,” said Governor Greg Abbott, who allowed businesses to start reopening in early May but on Friday shut down bars and limited restaurant dining amid a spike in cases.

California Governor Gavin Newsom rolled back the reopening of bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles. He ordered them to close immediately and urged eight other counties to issue local health orders mandating the same.

More Florida beaches will be closing again to avoid further spread of the new coronavirus as officials try to tamp down on large gatherings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said interactions among young people are driving the surge.

“Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are,” DeSantis said.

The World Health Organization announced on Sunday another daily record in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world – topping more than 189,000 in a single 24-hour period. The tally eclipses the previous record a week earlier at over 183,000 cases, showing case counts continue to progress worldwide.

The United States surpassed 2.5 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with the country’s health secretary Alex Azar warning time to take decisive action on the respiratory disease was running out.

To date, more than 125,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the US, the most of any country, since the virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December.

The US confirmed its first case in February, but the caseload has risen as the disease has spread into southern and western states, as well as rural regions, which were less badly affected at the start of the outbreak. 

On Sunday, for the third consecutive day, new US cases rose by more than 40,000.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, appearing on CNN and NBC on Sunday, warned “the window is closing” for the US to take action to effectively curb the coronavirus. He urged Americans “to act responsibly” by social distancing and wearing face masks especially in the newly emerging “hot zones”.

Five populous states in the west and south – Florida, Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, and Nevada – on Saturday also reported record daily highs for new coronavirus cases.

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