With numbers spiking across southern states, the U.S. set a daily record for new COVID-19 cases Thursday in a return to figures not seen since late April.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center, 40,401 new cases were recorded June 25, surpassing the previous record set April 24, which saw 36,291 new cases.
The U.S. continues to lead the world in both reported cases and deaths from the coronavirus. As of early June 26, the U.S. has recorded 2,422,310 cases and 124,416 deaths.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the case numbers are almost certainly vastly understated.
“Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, said during a call with reporters Thursday.
At least two states which had resisted stringent measures to control the spread of the virus are adjusting public health policies to address their surging numbers.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday the state will “pause” further reopening of its economy because of what he called a “massive outbreak” of the coronavirus.
And Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey pleaded with citizens to stay home if at all possible, but he again refused to impose statewide restrictions. Arizona public health officials say the state’s ICU beds are nearly full. Arizona has reported more than than 60,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Whether the increase in reported cases will be matched by a surge in deaths will depend on a number of factors, according to public health experts, such as the age of those infected, individual risk factors and the availability of medical care.
Deaths per day are averaging about 600, compared with a high of about 2,200 per day in April. One explanation for the drop offered by public health experts is that many of those recently infected are young.
Much depends on how the government continues to respond to the pandemic.
“It is possible, if we play our cards badly and make a lot of mistakes, to get back to that [April] level. But if we are smart, there’s no reason to get to 2,200 deaths a day,” Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, told The Associated Press.