WASHINGTON: New cases of COVID-19 rose by nearly 69,000 across the United States on Friday setting a record for the third consecutive day.
A total of eight US states – Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin – also reached records for single-day infections.
In Texas, another hot zone, Governor Greg Abbott warned of imposing new clampdowns if the state cannot stem its record-setting caseloads and hospitalisations through masks and social distancing.
California announced the state will release up to 8,000 inmates early from prisons to slow the spread of COVID-19 inside the facilities. At San Quentin State Prison, outside San Francisco, half of the roughly 3,300 prisoners have tested positive for the virus.
Walt Disney said the theme parks in Orlando would open on Saturday to a limited number of guests who along with employees would be required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. The park also cancelled parades, firework displays and events that draw crowds.
Florida remains one of the worst hotspots for the virus in the nation and is among a handful of states where deaths are rising. More than four dozen hospitals in Florida have reported their intensive care units were full. This month, Florida has repeatedly reported more new daily coronavirus cases than any European country had at the height of their outbreaks.
Trump travelled to Florida for an event at the US military’s Southern Command and a campaign fundraiser. The president has sparred with state and local officials and teachers unions over the reopening of schools and said the Treasury Department would re-examine the tax-exempt status and funding of those that remain closed.
Trump previously vowed to cut federal funding to the schools and eject foreign students attending universities in the United States unless their schools offer in-person classes. Most education funds come from state and local coffers.
The number of confirmed U.S. infections is over 3 million while more than 133,000 Americans have died. Overall, coronavirus cases are rising in 44 American states.