NY Times Key Data of the Day
Two of the nation’s most populous states, Texas and Florida, both reported this week their highest daily totals of new virus infections, a concerning sign as all 50 states move to ease social distancing restrictions and allow more businesses to reopen.
The nation’s most populous state, California, hit a new daily high last week, when it recorded 3,593 new cases, a record it nearly matched it again this week.
The rise in cases helps explain why the nation continues to record more than 20,000 new cases a day even as some of the original hot spots, including New York, have seen dramatic declines. While some officials in states seeing increases attribute the rise to increased testing, and the number of cases per capita in Texas and Florida remains low, some health experts see worrying signs that the virus continues to make inroads.
Texas, which avoided the worst of the virus in the early spring and was one of the first states to make moves to reopen its economy, identified more than 2,000 new cases on both Wednesday and Thursday, the highest daily totals yet. The counties that include Houston and Dallas are reporting some of the nation’s largest single-day rises. Cases are also trending upward around Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Lubbock, McAllen and Midland.
“To be quite frank, I have not been thrilled with what I’m seeing in terms of folks not wearing masks at a high enough rate,” said Mayor Eric Johnson of Dallas, who attributed the increased caseload to an expansion of testing and the reopening of the economy.
Mr. Johnson said that “people need to get back to where we were a few weeks ago, where we were talking more about masks being absolutely essential to preventing the disease from spreading.”
Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio said he was concerned about the pace of the state’s phased reopening plan. “We’re kind of blowing through phases before we have an understanding of the impact of that decision,” he said.
Florida recorded more than 1,000 new cases on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, including 1,698 on Thursday, the state’s highest daily total yet. That record only stood for a day: it was eclipsed on Friday, when the state reported another 1,902.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, said Friday that he was pleased to see hospitalizations declining in parts of the state, and attributed the rise in cases in part to more widespread testing, and in part to outbreaks in several agricultural communities, including a watermelon farm. “These are workers that are working very close together,” he noted at a news conference.
But Florida continues to push forward with its reopening plans, and on Thursday night the Republican National Committee announced that President Trump would deliver his Aug. 27 convention speech in Jacksonville, Fla., in an arena that holds 15,000, after his demands for an event without social distancing rules led to a rift with Democratic leaders in North Carolina, where the Republican convention was originally planned.