Governors of US states hit hardest by the resurgent coronavirus halted or reversed steps to reopen their economies on Wednesday, led by California, the nation’s most populous state and a new epicenter of the pandemic.
New cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, shot up by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic.
“The spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning,” California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said in ordering the closure of bars, bans on indoor dining and other restrictions in 19 counties, affecting over 70 percent of the state’s population.
The change in California, which was the first US state to impose sweeping “stay-at-home” restrictions in March, will likely inflict more financial pain on the owners of bars and restaurants who have struggled to survive the pandemic.
California, Texas, Florida new centers
The epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 epidemic has moved from the Northeast to California, Arizona and New Mexico in the West along with Texas, Florida and Georgia.
Texas again topped its previous record on Wednesday with 8,076 new cases, while South Carolina reported 24 more coronavirus deaths, a single-day high for the state. Tennessee and Alaska also had record numbers of new cases on Wednesday.
The United States recorded its biggest one-day increase of nearly 48,000 new infections on Tuesday, including more than 8,000 each in California and Texas, a Reuters tally showed.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Grisham, a Democrat, on Wednesday extended the state’s emergency public health order through July 15, saying that authorities would “aggressively” enforce mandatory mask rules.
“I want to be as clear as I can possibly be: New Mexico, in this moment, still has the power to change the terrible trajectory of this virus,” Grisham said. “But our time is limited. And we are staring down the barrel of what Texas, Arizona and many other hard-hit states are grappling with.”