By Lisa Shumaker and Doina Chiacu
Jul 5 (Reuters) – Rising cases of coronavirus in 39 US states overshadowed the Independence Day festivities, as health experts fear the weekend celebrations will cause more infections that could cause hospitals to collapse .
After cities and towns across the country canceled fireworks displays to avoid large crowds, many Americans threw firecrackers and flares from the streets and suburbs to commemorate July 4.
In the first four days of July, 15 states reported record numbers of new cases of COVID-19, which has infected nearly 3 million people and killed about 130,000 Americans, according to a Reuters count.
Contagions in Florida have escalated by more than 10,000 daily in the past four days, including an increase of 10,059 infections confirmed on Sunday, a new high that exceeds all counts in any country in Europe during the coronavirus plateau on that continent.
Cases have also skyrocketed in Arizona, California, and Texas, and the trend indicates an increase in central states that once showed lower rates of infection, such as Iowa, Ohio, and Michigan, according to a Reuters analysis of the pandemic’s progression. in the last two weeks in the United States.
In Phoenix, Arizona, groups of residents gathered Saturday without masks or social distancing to listen to a speaker at a rally against restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. Many in the crowd wore red, white, and blue, and some had signs saying, “Capitalism makes sense. Socialism does not. Long live Trump 2020.”
“We opened too early in Arizona,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego on ABC, adding that the city was experiencing a “test-related crisis,” with people waiting in lines for eight hours in their cars to find out. if they were infected.
During a White House Independence Day speech on Saturday, United States President Donald Trump claimed – without offering evidence – that 99% of all coronavirus cases in the United States have been “totally harmless.” .
In Texas alone, the number of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose to a record 7,890 on Saturday from 3,247 just two weeks ago.
The Democrat mayor of Austin, Texas, warned in an interview with CNN that his city’s hospitals could reach capacity in two weeks and run out of beds in the intensive care unit (ICU) in 10 days. In Arizona, about 90% of ICU beds are occupied.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase of 52,228 new cases of COVID-19 in the country on Sunday, to more than 2,841 million; while deaths rose by 271 to a national total of 129,576.
CDC figures do not necessarily reflect the numbers provided by states and cities independently.
(Report by Doina Chiacu in Washington; written by Lisa Shumaker. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)
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