ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Coronavirus cases in Florida surpassed 100,000 on Monday, part of an alarming surge across the South and West as states reopen for business and many Americans resist wearing masks or keeping their distance from others.
The disturbing signs in the Sunshine State as well as places like Arizona, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina — along with countries such as Brazil, India and Pakistan — are raising fears that the progress won after months of lockdowns is slipping away.
“It is snowballing. We will most certainly see more people die as a result of this spike,” said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO and president of Houston Methodist Hospital, noting that the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions has tripled since Memorial Day to more then 1,400 across eight hospital systems in the Houston metropolitan area.
He predicted that in three weeks hospitals could be overwhelmed, and he pleaded with people to cover their faces and practice social distancing.
“It is possible to open up at a judicious pace and coexist with the virus, but it requires millions and millions of people to do the right thing. Right now, we don’t have that” because people have let their guard down, Boom said.
The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases across the country per day has reached more than 26,000, up from about 21,000 two weeks ago, according to an Associated Press analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The analysis looked at a seven-day rolling average through Sunday.
Over 120,000 deaths in the U.S. have been blamed on the virus.