Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
In this June 11, 2020, file photo workers on scaffolding lay blocks on one of the larger buildings at a development site where various residential units and commercial sites are under construction in Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pa. Eighty-five percent of Democrats call economic conditions “poor,” while 65% of Republicans describe them as “good,” according to a new survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Coronavirus cases in Florida surpassed 100,000 on Monday, part of an alarming surge across the South and West as states reopen for business and many Americans resist wearing masks or keeping their distance from others.

The disturbing signs in the Sunshine State as well as places like Arizona, Alabama, Texas and South Carolina—along with countries such as Brazil, India and Pakistan—are raising fears that the progress won after months of lockdowns is slipping away.

“It is snowballing,” said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO and president of Houston Methodist Hospital, noting that the number of hospitalizations in the Texas Medical Center system that includes the hospital has more than doubled since Memorial Day.. “If we don’t do what we can RIGHT NOW as a community to stop the spread, the virus will take our choices away from us.”

The number of newly confirmed cases across the country per day has reached more than 26,000, up from about 21,000 two weeks ago, according to an Associated Press analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The analysis looked at a seven-day rolling average through Sunday. Over 120,000 deaths in the U.S. have been blamed on the virus.

In Orlando, 152 coronavirus cases were linked to one bar near the University of Central Florida campus, said Dr. Raul Pino, a state health officer in the resort city.

Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
People wearing protective face masks to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus wait to cross a street in Beijing, Monday, June 22, 2020. A Beijing government spokesperson said the city has contained the momentum of a recent coronavirus outbreak that has infected a few hundreds of people, after the number of daily new cases fell to single digits. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

“A lot of transmission happened there,” Pino said. “People are very close. People are not wearing masks. People are drinking, shouting, dancing, sweating, kissing and hugging, all the things that happen in bars. And all those things that happen are not good for COVID-19.”

Although he asked to renew calls for people to wear masks and keep their distance, Gov. Ron DeSantis has not signaled he will retreat from reopening the state after three months of shutdowns that have damaged the economy.

Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief, said that the outbreak is “definitely accelerating” in the U.S. and a number of other countries, dismissing the notion that the record daily levels of new COVID-19 cases simply reflect more testing. He noted that numerous countries have also noted marked increases in hospital admissions and deaths.

Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
In this Wednesday, June 10, 2020, file photo, Red Star fans watching a Serbian National Cup semi final soccer match between Partizan and Red Star in Belgrade, Serbia. Red Star Belgrade said Monday June 22, 2020, five players have tested positive for the coronavirus. The match against Proleter was attended by about 20,000 fans, drawing criticism from the public as Serbia records dozens of new coronavirus cases each day. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

“The epidemic is now peaking or moving towards a peak in a number of large countries,” he warned.

Arizona, in particular, is seeing disturbing trends in several benchmarks, including the percentage of tests that prove positive for the virus. Arizona’s is the highest in the nation.

The stat’s positive test rate is at a seven-day average of 20.4%, well above the national average of 8.4% and the 10% level that public health officials say is a problem. When the positive test rate rises, it means that an outbreak is worsening—not just that more people are getting tested.

At Maryland’s Fort Washington Medical Center on the outskirts of the nation’s capital, workers described a scramble to find new beds, heartbreaking interactions with family members of critically ill patients and their frustration with Americans who do not believe the coronavirus threat is real.

Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
People wait their turn outside a bank to receive cash under the government Ehsaas Emergency Cash program for families in need, affected during a nationwide lockdown to try to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, June 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

“Everybody is out lounging on the beaches. Just thinking that it’s over. And it’s not,” respiratory therapist Kevin Cole said. “It’s far from being over. And unfortunately, it’s those people that keep we’ll keep this pandemic going.”

Nearly 9 million people have been confirmed infected by the virus worldwide and about 470,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins, though experts say the actual numbers are much higher because of limited testing and cases in which patients had no symptoms.

Amid the global surge, the head of WHO warned that must not politicize the outbreak but unite to fight it.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has faced criticism from President Donald Trump, said during a videoconference for the Dubai-based World Government Summit that it took over three months for the world to see 1 million confirmed infections, but just eight days to see the most recent 1 million cases.

Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
Commuters wearing protective face masks to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus line up to board a bus at a bus terminal in Beijing, Monday, June 22, 2020. A Beijing government spokesperson said the city has contained the momentum of a recent coronavirus outbreak that has infected a few hundreds of people, after the number of daily new cases fell to single digits. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Tedros did not mention Trump ;by name or his determination to pull the United States out of the U.N. health agency but warned against “politicizing” the pandemic.

“The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, it’s the lack of global solidarity and global leadership,” he said. “We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world.”

Trump has criticized the WHO for its early response to the outbreak and what he considers its excessive praise of China, where the outbreak began, though his own administration’s response in the U.S. has come under attack. Trump has threatened to end all U.S. funding for the WHO.

Companies around the world are racing to find a vaccine, and there is fierce debate over how to make sure it is distributed fairly. WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, Dr. David Nabarro, said he believes it will be “2 1/2 years until there will be vaccine for everybody in the world.”

  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    In this photo taken on Friday, June 12, 2020, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, left, and Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov attend a press conference prior a a charity tournament Adria Tour, in Belgrade, Serbia. Dimitrov has tested positive for COVID-19, it is announced Monday June 22, 2020, leading to the cancellation of an exhibition event in Croatia where top-ranked Novak Djokovic was due to play in the final. Organizers said Sunday the exhibition has now been canceled. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    Shoppers pass a two meter social distance sign in London, Monday, June 22, 2020. The two-metre social distancing rule will be under review as the UK relax coronavirus lockdown measures implemented to stem the spread of the virus. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    A member of Sri Lanka’s St John’s ambulance service drinks a beverage during a break in between a spraying of disinfectants at a public school to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, June 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    A young boy holds a painted rainbow as his picture appears on a screen during a 10 minute domination on The Piccadilly Lights, Piccadilly Circus, to mark the launch of The People’s Picture interactive mosaic art project Rainbows for the NHS in London, Monday, June 22, 2020. The art installation which features thousands of photos and messages from key workers, carers, patients, doctors and nurses appears on Piccadilly Lights until June 28.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    Pictures appear on a screen beside the Eros statue during a 10 minute domination on The Piccadilly Lights, Piccadilly Circus, to mark the launch of The People’s Picture interactive mosaic art project Rainbows for the NHS in London, Monday, June 22, 2020. The art installation which features thousands of photos and messages from key workers, carers, patients, doctors and nurses appears on Piccadilly Lights until June 28.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    In this photo taken Sunday, June 21, 2020, an infectious disease specialist, left, takes a sample from Dr. Reagan Taban Augustino, right, now a coronavirus patient himself under quarantine, at the Dr John Garang Infectious Diseases Unit in Juba, South Sudan. The United Nations says the country’s outbreak is growing rapidly, with nearly 1,900 cases, including more than 50 health workers infected, and at the only laboratory in the country that tests for the virus a team of 16 works up to 16-hour days slogging through a backlog of more than 5,000 tests. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)
  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    People watch as pictures appear on a screen during a 10 minute domination on The Piccadilly Lights, Piccadilly Circus, to mark the launch of The People’s Picture interactive mosaic art project Rainbows for the NHS in London, Monday, June 22, 2020. The art installation which features thousands of photos and messages from key workers, carers, patients, doctors and nurses appears on Piccadilly Lights until June 28.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    In this photo taken Friday, June 19, 2020, laboratory supervisor Simon Deng Nyichar enters data for patient samples at the country’s only laboratory that tests for the coronavirus in Juba, South Sudan. The United Nations says the country’s outbreak is growing rapidly, with nearly 1,900 cases, including more than 50 health workers infected, and at the only laboratory in the country that tests for the virus a team of 16 works up to 16-hour days slogging through a backlog of more than 5,000 tests. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)
  • Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping
    In this June 15, 2020, file photo, a health worker takes a nasal swab sample of a person during a door-to-door testing and screening facility for the new coronavirus, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan ranks among countries hardest hit by the coronavirus with infections soaring beyond 18,000, while the government, which has opened up the country hoping to salvage a near collapsed economy, warns a stunning 1.2 million Pakistanis could be infected by the end of August. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed, File)

India’s health care system has been slammed by the virus. The country’s caseload climbed by nearly 15,000 Monday to over 425,000, with more than 13,000 deaths.

After easing a nationwide lockdown, the Indian government in recent weeks ran special trains to return thousands of migrant workers to their home villages.

In Pakistan, infections are accelerating and hospitals are having to turn away patients, with new cases up to 6,800 a day. The government has relaxed its coronavirus restrictions, hoping to salvage a near-collapsed economy in the country of 220 million people.


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