Coronavirus cases have now topped 10 million worldwide, with over a half-million deaths. Cases continue to surge across much of the United States, where confirmed cases have now topped 2.6 million, with over 126,000 reported deaths — that’s one-quarter of the world’s cases and deaths, though the U.S. has just over 4% of the global population. Spikes are being reported in 36 states. Only two states — Connecticut and Rhode Island — saw a decline in new cases compared to last week. On Friday, the U.S. reported the highest number of new cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
At least a dozen states have “paused” their reopening. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles, to close. The governors of Florida and Texas have ordered bars to close, among other restrictions, in an attempt to curb the surge in cases. They are refusing to impose statewide stay-at-home orders and mandate the wearing of face masks. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned the U.S. needs to act immediately.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar: “The window is closing. We have to act. And people, as individuals, have to act responsibly. We need to social distance. We need to wear our face coverings if we’re in settings where we can’t social distance, particularly in these hot zones.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence on Friday touted the nation’s “truly remarkable progress,” even as the U.S. reported a record 40,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours. Pence recently canceled campaign events in Florida and Arizona due to the surge in cases. He did not, however, cancel an appearance at a Dallas church Sunday, where he wore a mask as he sat in the front row as a choir of over 100 people performed unmasked. Over 2,000 people attended the event; many also did not wear a mask. This comes as reports emerged Friday that the Trump campaign ordered the removal of thousands of social distancing stickers on seats at his Tulsa rally last weekend. A reporter who covered the Tulsa rally recently said he tested positive for COVID-19.