The United States recorded more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths on Friday for the fourth time in a row as the disease continues to spread rapidly in the southern and western states.
The sustained increase in deaths occurs after several weeks, during which the number of coronavirus cases increased significantly. This week it was over 4 million, an increase of 1 million in less than a fortnight.
On Friday, 75,193 people had had positive tests in the last 24 hours, according to the Covid Tracking Project, against 71,027 on Thursday. It is the second largest one-day jump ever.
The 1,178 deaths registered on Friday were the first since May 23 that the number of deaths increased by more than 1,000 on four consecutive days. California, Texas and Florida all registered one-day deaths this week.
The recent surge was largely driven by the sun belt states in the south and west, which re-opened quickly after being largely spared in the early months of the pandemic. The outbreaks there were not yet as deadly as the early wave of infections that hit the northeast, and especially New York, in March and April.
However, there are worrying signs that mortality rates in the Sun Belt countries will increase over the next few weeks as hospitalization increases. The number of daily deaths across the country had dropped to 209 earlier this month.
The previous Friday, Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned of the situation in California, Texas, and Florida that resembled New York at the height of her outbreak, and urged state residents to change their behavior.
"What we currently have are essentially three New Yorkers," said Dr. Birx. "That's why you hear us calling for masks and increasing social distance to really stop the spread of this epidemic."
After playing down the severity of the virus for weeks, President Donald Trump canceled plans on Thursday to hold most of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, and said it was "not the right time" for a "large, crowded Congress" I thought it was "wrong for people to go to a hotspot".
Florida has become one of the most important nodes in the current wave of coronavirus cases in the sun belt – and opinion polls have shown that the president has lost ground in the race for the president against Mr. Biden as disapproval of his handling of the pandemic increases. As of Friday, the number of confirmed Covid 19 cases in the state exceeded 400,000. Only California and New York have seen more cases since the pandemic started.
Mr Trump held regular press conferences again this week, as he did early in the coronavirus pandemic, and admitted that the crisis "would likely worsen before it improves," unfortunately. He also tweeted a picture of himself with a face mask, which he compared to a "patriotic" act.
However, there is no federal mandate for facewear, which is why states, counties and companies have to introduce their own requirements.
On Wednesday, Ohio, Indiana, Oregon, and Minnesota made greater demands on mask wear, as did the mayors of Washington DC and Baltimore, Maryland. On Thursday, a judge ordered mediation in a lawsuit filed by the Republican governor of Georgia to prevent democratic mayor of his largest city, Atlanta, from enforcing a public face mandate.
A growing number of companies have also ordered masks to be worn in their stores, including McDonalds, as restaurants, stores, and other businesses try to carefully restart their stores.
One of the most controversial aspects of the reopening debate was whether personal lessons in schools should resume in the fall. Experts have discussed whether it is better to allow children – who appear to be less susceptible to the disease – to resume education, or whether this could cause the virus to spread further and faster than before.
Mr Trump has loudly requested that students return to the classrooms at the beginning of the new school year. The disease control and prevention centers issued guidelines on Friday that schools should be reopened if the positive test rate for Covid-19 in their area is less than 5 percent.
Mitchell Zais, deputy education minister, estimated that parents who stayed away from work to look after children cost the economy $ 232 billion and that school reopening had to be the "standard option".
The reopening debate has led to a variety of political approaches in all states and regions. Florida's largest teachers' union filed a lawsuit this week against a government order to keep schools open at least five days a week and offer a full range of services at the beginning of the semester.
On July 17, California laid down guidelines that are likely to prevent most of its schools from studying again in person just a few days after the hard-hit districts of Los Angeles and San Diego decided not to let students back into the classroom.