On Tuesday, the United States reported 60,021 new cases of COVID-19, its highest number yet, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Florida and Texas both reported more than 10,000 cases on Tuesday, with Texas’ case count being its highest yet. According to Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration, there are no beds available in 41 of the state’s hospitals and only 15.36% of the state’s total ICU beds are currently available for use.
In total, hospitalizations are rising in at least 22 states, with 29 states averaging positive test rates above the 5% considered safe by the World Health Organization for businesses to reopen.
By May 20 all 50 states had begun lifting restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the nation. But as states began to reopen, cases within the US rose once again to over 40,000 a day, after several weeks of cases in the 20,000 range.
The grim statistics come amid President Trump’s push to reopen schools in the fall.
At a White House meeting on Tuesday, Trump said, “We want to reopen the schools. Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It’s time to do it.”
He further said that the only reason that people are against reopening schools is politics, not the pandemic, adding that he will pressure governors to reopen schools.
“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons. They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way.”
“So we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open. And it’s very important,” the president stated.
Trump added that he approved of Florida’s decision to reopen schools in the fall, saying that the state’s governor, Republican Ron De Santis, was doing a “terrific job” of controlling the spread of the virus.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”
Trump also criticized the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for reopening schools in the fall, tweeting that they were “tough” and “expensive.”
“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”
Amid the pressure, New York City’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a news conference that the city will take a “blended approach” to learning, with students attending in-person lectures only 2-3 days a week and doing remote learning on other days.
“What we WON’T do is ignore the science and recklessly charge ahead like our president,” de Blasio tweeted. “We will do it the right way. We will keep everyone safe.”
On Wednesday, Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said on Good Morning America, “The question isn’t, ‘Do we want schools open?’ The question is, ‘What do we need to do to keep schools open?’ And the single biggest thing we need to do is keep the level of virus low in the community.”
Jha added that an attempt to open up schools in states such as Arizona, Florida and Texas that are seeing a high resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases would cause them to shut down again because too many people including teachers and children would contract the virus.
The US continues to remain the nation worst hit by the pandemic. According to data tracked by The Washington Post, the country has now surpassed 3 million cases, with a current death toll of at least 128,000.
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