The more than 53,000 coronavirus cases recorded in the US on Thursday is a record number for one day, since the start of the outbreak.
With more than 2.7 million cases, and 128,743 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, the US is far and away the worst affected country in the world. On the eve of national 4th of July celebrations, cases are still on the rise in 40 of the country’s 50 states.
Four states – Arizona, California, Florida and Texas – reported a combined 25,000 new cases on Thursday. On Wednesday, the national number was 51,200.
“What we’ve seen is a very disturbing week,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, during a livestream with the American Medical Association.
Fauci recently warned the US could see 100,000 cases a day if Americans don’t start following regulations and guidance to stem the spread of the virus.
Many parts of the country began reopening in an attempt to get the economy going again – but a huge surge in cases in some hot spots led to reversals.
Officials are worried the 4th of July holiday could add fuel to the fire with big gatherings of people, and a number of localities have cancelled fireworks displays and closed beaches.
One major U-turn came from the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, a Republic and ally of president Donald Trump. He ordered the wearing of masks across most of the state, despite until recently refusing to allow local governments to impose similar rules.
Trump for his part will celebrate on Friday with a display of fireworks at Mount Rushmore with a crowd of thousands of people.
On Wednesday he seemed confident the virus would soon subside, telling Fox Business: “I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”
Other countries around the world are reporting an increase in virus cases.
South Africa on Friday confirmed another record high number of daily cases with 8,728. “We have now entered a new and treacherous phase in the life cycle of this pandemic,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a broadcast to the nation.
India, the world’s second-most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people, has reported nearly 100,000 new cases in the past four days alone.