US COVID-19 cases top 2.1 mn as new hotspots emerge

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Washington, June 16 (IANS) US COVID-19 cases topped the 2.1 million mark with over 116,000 fatalities, as new hotspots emerged in many states where restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus continue to ease amid an economic reopening.
As of Tuesday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the US increased were 2,114,026 cases of COVID-19 and 116,127 deaths, both tallies account for the highest in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
New York state, the once epicenter of the pandemic in the state, has gone from having the worst infection rate to the “best”, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
As of Sunday, New York had 1,608 coronavirus patients, the lowest figure since March 20, and a three-day average of 27 deaths, the lowest since March 21, he added.
However, states in the South, West and Southwest were witnessing a surge in their coronavirus case counts — and in some cases setting records — as a troubling pattern emerges in areas that began lifting restrictions earlier than others, the New York Times reported.
South Carolina, which was among the last states to issue stay-at-home orders and the first to start reopening, recorded 840 new infections on Monday, the highest number in one day since the pandemic began, said the report.
In Arizona, which reopened pools and gyms in recent weeks, hospitals have been urged to activate emergency plans to handle a flood of COVID-19 patients, it added.
Arizona is one of the 12 US states seeing a rise in hospitalizations from COVID-19 and one of the eight states that experts say are the new hotspots for the virus, news website Vox reported.
At least 23 US states were seeing a rise in cases as of last week, according to a CNBC analysis.
Texas health authorities said there were 2,287 patients sickened with COVID-19 on Sunday, the sixth new high for coronavirus hospitalizations in the state in less than a week, CNBC reported.
Texas was among the first US states to relax its statewide stay-at-home order which expired on April 30.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projected that the country was on pace to reach 124,000 to 140,000 COVID-19 deaths by July 4, and that more fatalities could be expected in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont next month versus the last month.
An influential model produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington also revised its projections, forecasting nearly 170,000 COVID-19 deaths by October 1.
Projections for most locations suggested that infections could rise between August and September, assuming that schools will reopen for in-person instruction during this period, said an IHME release.
States may need to re-implement the strict social distancing measures that were put in place earlier this year if coronavirus cases rise “dramatically”, the CDC said.

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