WASHINGTON — Two U.S. states of Florida and Texas reported new single-day records in new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, and concerns about infection spikes in other parts of the country forced local authorities to warn against public celebration of Fourth of July holiday.
The southeastern U.S. state of Florida reported 11,458 new coronavirus cases, smashing the previous single-day record and almost tying New York state’s peak daily figure set in April.
The soar was the second time in three days that the state’s caseload increased by more than 10,000.
The new record also continues a marked upturn in cases that began in late May, forcing the state to roll back part of its reopening starting on May 4.
In Texas, a record daily increase of 8,258 cases were reported, with the total infections now standing at 191,790, according to local health officials.
Health experts argued, however, that the true number of coronavirus infections is likely to be much higher since the majority of the local population have yet to be tested.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported an increase of nearly 53,000 infections, bringing the national count to 2,785,023.
With some 40 states in the United States reporting resurgence of COVID-19 cases, a number of U.S. states and cities either canceled or scaled down Independence Day celebrations.
Chicago is a little quiet during this year’s Independence Day holiday as the local government had canceled the fireworks displays at Navy Pier and most of the surrounding suburbs to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There was also no public activity and access to the annual Houston Fourth of July celebration Saturday night as COVID-19 continues its rapid spread in the U.S. state of Texas.
“The city of Houston will celebrate freedom this year, but out of an abundance of caution during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want people to stay home and watch the fireworks,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in a written statement.
“The virtual celebration will include a dazzling display of red, white, and blue as we reflect on the history of our country and the challenging events of 2020,” said the statement.
Following Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s statewide face covering mandate, Lina Hidalgo, judge of Harris County where Houston is located, has issued an order prohibiting outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people. The order went into effect on July 3, and will last until Aug. 26.
The order came at a time when people are celebrating Fourth of July weekend. According to the order, fireworks displays that were permitted in unincorporated Harris County and are viewed from inside a motor vehicle are permitted.
Also, fireworks displays and gatherings with more than 100 people viewing them from outside a vehicle are prohibited.
In New York, once the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the public were urged to avoid crowds, and Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest happened at an undisclosed location without spectators on hand, according to local media reports.