By Lisa Shumaker
June 14 (Reuters) - New coronavirus cases and
hospitalizations in record numbers swept through more U.S.
states, including Florida and Texas, as most push ahead with
reopening and President Donald Trump plans an indoor rally in
Alabama, Florida and South Carolina reported a record number
of new cases for the third day in a row on Saturday, which many
state health officials partly attribute to gatherings over the
Memorial Day holiday weekend in late May.
Oklahoma reported record new cases for the second day in a
row, and Alaska did so for the first time in weeks. Arizona and
Nevada reported a near-record number of new cases.
In Louisiana, which had been one of the earlier virus
hotspots, new cases were again on the rise with over 1,200 - the
most there since May 21.
Nationally, there were over 25,000 new cases reported on
Saturday, the highest tally for a Saturday since May 2, in part
due to a significant increase in testing over the past six
Perhaps more troubling for health officials is many of these
states are also seeing record hospitalizations - a metric not
affected by increased testing.
Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Utah all had a record
number of patients enter the hospital on Saturday. In South
Carolina, 69% to 77% of hospital beds are occupied, depending on
While Utah's governor announced last week that most of the
state would pause its reopening, no state is talking about a
second shutdown as they face budget shortfalls and double-digit
unemployment. Many went ahead with reopenings before meeting
government infection rate guidelines for doing so.
Fears that a second wave of infections is happening - or
that states failed to curb their first wave - prompted health
officials to plead with the public to wear masks and avoid large
Trump still plans to hold his first campaign rally since
early March on Saturday in Tulsa, although those attending will
have to agree not to hold the campaign responsible if they
About a third of the record new cases in the state came from
Tulsa County, according to state data. The Tulsa Health
Department on Friday said the outbreak was linked to indoor
gatherings. Hospitalizations and the percent of tests coming
back positive have been steady in the state.
"I have concerns about large groups of people gathering
indoors for prolonged lengths of time. It is imperative that
anyone who chooses to host or attend a gathering take the steps
to stay safe," said Bruce Dart, the department’s executive
director, in a statement that advised people at gatherings to
Trump has refused to wear a mask at a series of recent
(Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago
Editing by Bill Berkrot)
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