The United States has surpassed 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases, with infections rising in at least 40 states and the Trump administration pushing to reopen schools in the fall.
It took less than a month for the national case count to rise to that level from 2 million, on June 11. With cases and hospitalizations spiking in states including Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, some public health officials have predicted the pace could further intensify and perhaps reach 100,000 new cases a day if the virus isn’t controlled.
The count broke 3 million on Wednesday morning based on a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. Brazil had the second biggest caseload, exceeding 1.6 million. The U.S. also leads the world in Covid-19 deaths, with over 131,000.
The grim milestone came after President Donald Trump formally submitted the U.S. notice of withdrawal to the World Health Organization over the group’s handling of the pandemic and with some members of his administration urging new public health precautions to contain the disease.
White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx this week attributed the rise in cases to state and local governments relaxing lockdown orders too quickly — and to individuals not wearing face coverings or social distancing. Birx suggested the need for “mandatory masks” in areas that are seeing a rise in cases, saying, “We have the control to change the course of this virus today, and it will take individual action.”
However, Trump has largely downplayed the rise in cases or the need for masks while emphasizing a falling mortality rate. Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off federal funding to schools that don’t reopen as he also condemned reopening guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as too burdensome.
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