As many other countries hit hard by the coronavirus return safely to the routines of pre-pandemic life, the United States on Wednesday recorded its highest single-day total of over 38,000 new COVID-19 cases. California, Texas, and Florida led the charge of new patients — all three states had over 5,000 new cases on Wednesday — as the country trounced its previous single-day record of 34,203 set on April 25.
Hospitalizations in recently inundated areas are also increasing at an alarming rate. In Houston, the massive Texas Medical Center warns that it may soon exceed its intensive care capacity, while in Arizona — which reported 3,591 new cases on Tuesday — ICU beds in state hospitals are 88 percent full and inpatient beds are 86 percent full. Hospitalizations have also jumped in Florida, where the Department of Health does not release statewide data.
With over 121,000 Americans dead and several Republican-led states suffering from major outbreaks, President Trump has responded to the growth in COVID-19 patients by refusing to refute his claim that he ordered a slowdown in coronavirus testing. On Wednesday, the Trump administration also ordered the end of federal support for drive-through testing sites, which helped expand testing rates in many states.
While the surge in U.S. cases has helped fuel recent international growth — the World Health Organization on Sunday reported a record 183,000 confirmed new cases in a 24-hour period — there is one major difference between the first months of the U.S. outbreak and the summer expansion occurring in several warm-weather states. In Arizona, Florida, and Texas, young adults are testing positive at alarming rates, suggesting that a return to indoor gatherings may be leading the apparent community spread in parts of the south and southwest.
In an effort to cut off the tri-state area from the uptick, on Tuesday Governors Andrew Cuomo, Phil Murphy and Ned Lamont announced that anyone traveling to New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut from “states with significant community spread” must quarantine for a two-week period. “This quarantine — effective midnight tonight — applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average,” the announcement read.
Naturally, President Trump — despite the post-rally outbreak among his campaign staffers — is not considering the order as part of his travel plans. When asked if he would alter his trip to New Jersey this weekend in light of the tri-state governors’ request, a White House spokesman told CNBC: “The president of the United States is not a civilian.”