Texas and Florida – which were among the first states to roll back coronavirus restrictions - on Friday threw much of their reopening plans into reverse after an alarming surge in infections.
Florida on Friday announced a startling 8,942 new COVID-19 cases. That number was a jump from the state’s previous record of just over 5,500 new daily cases, reached mid-week.
With increasing numbers of young adults contracting the disease, Florida authorities announced that bars in the state must immediately stop serving alcohol on the premises.
In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott also ordered bars to close down again, except for take-out, and told restaurants to limit indoor capacity to 50% from 75%.
The state has also witnessed one of the biggest jumps in new cases in the U.S., reporting nearly 6,000 on Thursday, and a record number of hospitalizations for 13 straight days.
The positivity rate is also among the highest in the nation at over 10 percent.
Health experts say a high rate of positive testing signals a state is losing control of the spread.
(VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE, SAYING:)
“As we are reminded as we see cases rising across the South, that we still have work to do….”
The recent uptick prompted the return of the White House task force press conference Friday, led by Vice President Mike Pence – and during which infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci strongly warned young adults to adhere to social distancing measures and other restrictions.
"I think what we're missing in this is something that we've never faced before, is that a risk for you is not just isolated to you. Because if you get infected, you are part - innocently or inadvertently - of propagating the dynamic process of a pandemic."
At least 10 other states recorded record rises in cases this week, including Arizona, South Carolina and Oklahoma.