As states continue to set records with daily COVID-19 case counts, fatalities due the virus are beginning to creep upward, with Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, and Florida all breaking records for average daily fatalities over the past 7 days.
And more than 80% of intensive care beds are occupied in Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia. The summer surge of virus activity is widespread, according to The Hill, with 43 states reporting increasing numbers of cases over the past 2 weeks. Governors in 23 states have now ordered the mandatory wearing of face masks or coverings in public.
Hard-hit Florida, Houston
The state hardest hit may now be Florida, which set a record this past weekend with 15,300 new cases confirmed yesterday. According to the Washington Post, that figure is a new national high, replacing previous highs of 11,694 reported by California last week and 11,571 reported by New York on Apr 15.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez appeared on “Good Morning America” today and said that “here is no doubt that our death rate is going to go up after the next week or two.”
In Houston, infection rates have led Mayor Sylvester Turner to call for a 2-week mandatory shutdown, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“COVID19 is a virus that continues to run rampant in our city. What we do in the next couple of weeks is important to helping to combat this virus,” Turner wrote on Twitter. “This virus is an equal opportunity abuser. It does not matter what your background is, it can affect us all.”
According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker, the United States has 3,346,246 COVID-19 cases and 135,425 deaths.
Los Angeles, San Diego announce distance learning plans
The two largest school districts in California, Los Angeles and San Diego, announced today they will begin the 2020-21 school year online.
“The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control,” said a joint statement today from the Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified school districts. The districts said the decision to return to in-classroom instruction hinged on declining infection rates and on-demand testing and that California had neither.
In Atlanta today, Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring is expected to announce later today that Georgia’s biggest school district will begin the year with distance learning, at least for the first 9 weeks of school, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The announcements come 1 day after US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appeared on Sunday morning news shows stating she believes schools can and should adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines on reopening in the fall and that school is “not dangerous” for children.
“All of the guidelines are meant to be helpful, to help local education leaders decide and work on how they are going to accomplish what they need to do, and that is getting kids back in school based on their situation and their realities,” DeVos said on “Fox News Sunday.”
New York City reports no COVID-19 deaths
For the first time since March, New York City yesterday reported 0 new COVID-19 deaths, down from its peak of 597 deaths on Apr 7.
The first death was reported in that city on Mar 11. Since then, the city has recorded 18,670 COVID-19 deaths and 4,613 probable ones.