The governor of Texas temporarily halted the state’s reopening on Thursday as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations surged and the country set a new record for a one-day increase in cases.
Texas, which has been at the forefront of efforts to reopen devastated economies shut down in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, has seen one of the biggest jumps in new cases, reporting more than 6,000 in a single day on Monday.
“This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business,” Governor Greg Abbott, a two-term Republican, said in a statement.
Texas has also set record hospitalizations for 13 days in a row. Abbott has suspended elective surgeries in the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio areas to free up hospital bed space.
Texas’ rising numbers are part of a nationwide resurgence in states that were spared the brunt of the initial outbreak or moved early to lift restrictions on residents and businesses.
Cases rose across the United States by at least 39,818 on Thursday, the largest one-day increase of the pandemic.
More than 36,000 new U.S. cases were recorded on Wednesday, a few hundred shy of the record 36,426 on April 24.
Also reporting record rises in cases this week were Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming.
While some of the increased numbers of cases can be attributed to more testing, the percentage of positive results is also climbing.
The Trump administration has tried to soften nationwide concerns about the pandemic even as a dozen or so states see worrisome increases.
“We’re working aggressively with states and local leaders in this situation but it’s important for the American people to know this is a localized situation,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News in an interview. “The counties that are in hotspots are 3% of American counties.”
Government experts believe more than 20 million Americans could have contracted the coronavirus, 10 times more than official counts, indicating many people without symptoms have or have had the disease, senior administration officials said.
People who have COVID-19 but show no symptoms are capable of spreading the disease, health experts say.