US breaks its daily record for new cases

The highest number came from Florida, with 13,965. It was the second-worst daily number the state has reported, after 12 July’s 15,300. The state also reported a record number of deaths, with 156. Its previous one-day record was 132, two days ago.

Florida has faced reporting problems making it hard to accurately measure the percentage of tests coming back positive, and it has until recently not been providing data on the rate of cases leading to hospitalisation, meaning that the immediate implications of its high numbers are not as clear as they could be.

Across the border in Georgia, meanwhile, governor Brian Kemp took the unusual step of banning local authorities from mandating people to wear masks in public – and even announced he was suing the mayor of Atlanta over her ban “on behalf of Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees”.

The US has hit a new high in its daily count of new coronavirus cases, with several states breaking their own records on a daily basis while debates over masks and reopening schools still rage.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the total cases recorded nationally on Thursday was 77,255 – demolishing the previous high of 67,791, which was reached just two days ago.

Much of the new total was driven by outbreaks in several states where the outbreak is surging, with the virus spreading rapidly among populations whose lives have been returning after state lockdowns were eased.

Georgia recorded 2,701 cases yesterday, well short of its record but still far higher than the numbers it was recording until the surge began in late June.

Other governors, meanwhile, have turned their fire on the Trump administration over its response to the outbreak. Maryland’s Larry Hogan, a Republican, published an excerpt from his upcoming book in the Washington Post; in it, he tore into the president’s response as the outbreak grew.

“It was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless,” he wrote of the pandemic’s early days. “If we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death. So every governor went their own way, which is how the United States ended up with such a patchwork response.”

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