News World Coronavirus cases jump in 22 US states amid protests and fewer restrictions
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Coronavirus cases jump in 22 US states amid protests and fewer restrictions

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Coronavirus cases are climbing across the United States as an increasing number of Americans leave home due to easing restrictions.

Across the country, protests against police brutality and racial injustice have continued to rage for the 15th day since unarmed African-American George Floyd was allegedly killed by Minneapolis police.

A funeral attended by thousands of mourners was held in Houston, Texas on Tuesday in honour of the 46-year-old father.

Black Lives Matter demonstrations sparked by his death have brought out tens of thousands of people together in public – in the US and around the world, including Australia.

Though many American protesters have been trying to limit the virus’s spread by wearing a face mask, the contagion is showing no sign of slowing down.

Nearly half of US states have experienced higher rates of new cases in recent weeks.

Southern states appear to be the worst affected.

Protesters march in Manhattan over the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Getty

In Florida, the number of new cases reported each day has jumped an average of about 46 per cent during the past week – about the same time the state began its second phase of winding back restrictions.

More than 1000 new infections have been reported each day, on average, since the middle of last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Other southern states reporting sharp increases in infections include Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia, with all reporting new cases rose 35 per cent or more in the week ending May 31 compared with the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis.

Nationwide, there has been a jump in coronavirus cases in 22 states, while numbers in about 20 states have decreased in recent days.

Case numbers in eight states have remained firm.

Overall, the coronavirus has killed more than 110,000 people in the US, according to a Reuters tally.

About 1000 people have died on average each day so far in June, down from a peak of 2000 a day in April, according to the tally of state and county data on COVID-19 deaths.

Total US coronavirus cases are approaching two million, the highest in the world, followed by Brazil with about 672,000 cases and Russia with about 467,000.

Though the skyrocketing global infections might seem a world away in Australia, which has fewer than 7300 cases nationwide, the World Health Organisation has made it clear the pandemic is far from over.

On Sunday, the WHO received the most reports of COVID-19 cases in a single day since the crisis began, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported – the most in a single day so far,” Mr Tedros said on Monday.

“Almost 75 per cent of yesterday’s cases come from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and south Asia.”