News US virus cases soar as states post thousands more infections for sixth day on end
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US virus cases soar as states post thousands more infections for sixth day on end

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The coronavirus pandemic is raging in Florida, with the state clocking up more than 10,000 new infections for a sixth day in a row, while California’s cases surge past 11,000.

The US now leads the global tally for the highest number of cases, with 3,825,153 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 141,000 deaths.

Florida is the epicentre of the latest COVID-19 surge, prompting the state’s teachers’ union to sue Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for his plan to reopen schools for in-class instruction.

But California, which emerged as another coronavirus hotspot in July, has reported a record daily increase of more than 11,800 new cases of COVID-19, according to a Reuters tally of county data.

If California were a country, it would be rank fifth in the world for total cases at nearly 400,000, behind the US, Brazil, India and Russia.

This is the first time California has had more than 10,000 new daily infections since setting a record with 10,861 on July 14.

Florida reported over 10,000 new cases a day for the past six days and Texas has had more than 10,000 for five out of the past seven days.

California’s daily increases have already topped the highest daily tally from any European country at the height of the pandemic there.

The biggest outbreak in the state is in Los Angeles County, which had nearly 160,000 total cases on Monday local time.

Hospitals are also filling, with Los Angeles reporting record numbers of hospitalised coronavirus patients for the second day in a row on Monday.

To combat the pandemic, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is shutting down the state again.

“Hospitalisations and ICU (admissions) continue to be cause of concern in this state. That’s why we want everybody to double down on what we’ve been doing,” he said.

In addition to closing bars, he has ordered restaurants, movie theatres, zoos and museums to cease indoor operations. Gyms, churches and hair salons must close in the 30 hardest-hit counties.

State prisons are releasing up to 8000 inmates early to reduce the risk of virus transmission after large outbreaks in correctional facilities.

California is home to tech companies in Silicon Valley, Hollywood movie studios and Walt Disney Co’s Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

The entertainment company has indefinitely suspended plans to reopen the California theme park but it did reopen Disney World in Florida on July 11.

New York death toll drops dramatically

New York, which has had far more deaths than any other US state, 32,000, had only eight fatalities on Sunday.

The total number of people hospitalised in New York for the disease fell to 716, the fewest since March 18, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Restrictions were eased slightly with zoos and the Statue of Liberty reopening, as well as professional sports – without fans.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, imposed new clamp-downs, including a ban on indoor service at bars and shutdown of personal services such as shaves and facials that require masks to be removed.

“While we aren’t near the peak of the pandemic from earlier this year, none of us wants to go back there,” Ms Lightfoot said.

There is a continued surge in the pandemic across the US, with 32 states reporting record increases in COVID-19 cases in July and 15 posting reporting jumps in deaths.

President Donald Trump, who pushed back on state and local mask requirements, on Monday (local time) posted a black and white photo of himself wearing one on Twitter.

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!,” he said in a tweet.

-with AAP