AUGUST 20, 2020
The number of new U.S. coronavirus cases edged up to more than 46,000, while countries including India and South Korea faced a rise in new infections.
Total U.S. coronavirus cases passed 5.5 million—just under a quarter of the global tally—as the nation’s death toll topped 173,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Johns Hopkins’s data showed California had more than 9,000 new cases, Texas had more than 5,000 and Florida had over 4,000, Georgia and Illinois had more than 2,000 each, while Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee all exceeded 1,000 each.
In all of those states, except California and Illinois, the seven-day average of new cases is lower than the 14-day average, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data, suggesting cases are falling. Across the country, different states have enacted various restrictions to stop the virus from spreading.
The seven-day new-case average in the U.S. was 48,744, less than its two-week average of about 50,810. The country’s seven-day average has been lower than its 14-day average since July 26.
The health crisis continued to weigh on local leaders and teachers as decisions are made about whether to offer in-person classes in the fall.
In New York City, the president of the city’s teachers union said he doubts all school buildings will be able to safely reopen on time and threatened that the union would go to court and strike if necessary, to protect staff and students.
New York City’s public school system, the largest district in the nation, is one of the few big districts planning to open for in-person classes. It currently has settled on a hybrid model that would let families choose fully remote classes, or a mix of days on campus and off. The first day of school is scheduled for Sept. 10.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, warned New York to prepare for a second wave of coronavirus cases. New York has managed to rein in infections even as it reopened much of its economy, which officials have attributed to widespread testing and slow, phased resumptions of businesses and social gatherings. But Mr. Cuomo gave a sobering assessment of the state, urging residents not to get complacent as schools reopen in September and the flu season starts.
“This is going to be difficult and challenging,” the Democratic governor said. He said he would ask local health officials how they plan to balance testing for the flu and the coronavirus. “There’s going to be no easy answer to that riddle,” Mr. Cuomo said.
Several other countries continued to struggle to contain outbreaks.
India reported a record daily jump of 69,652 new cases, pushing its total to more than 2.84 million, data from the Health Ministry showed. The country’s cumulative death toll stands at 53,866, including 977 new fatalities. Despite the rising numbers of new cases, the Indian government is sticking to its approach, focusing on testing, contact tracing and isolating infected people. According to the Indian government, active cases remain low at about 25% of the total, and about three-quarters of Covid-19 patients in the country have recovered. India remains the third worst-hit country in terms of total number of cases, behind the U.S. and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins.
The death toll in Russia passed 16,000 Thursday after the country reported an additional 110 new deaths. The total number of infections has now passed 942,000.
Australia’s Victoria state reported 240 new cases and 13 deaths, while New South Wales, home to Sydney, recorded five cases. The national death toll rose to 463. New Zealand reported five new cases, all linked to a cluster that emerged last week.
South Korea reported 288 new cases, the seventh straight day of triple-digit daily caseloads. The latest outbreaks, mostly linked to large churches, have spread to 15 cities and provinces. The capital, Seoul, where nearly half of the new cases occurred, said it would adopt tighter social-distancing measures starting Friday until Aug. 30, banning gatherings of more than 10 people.
State media in China, meanwhile, have rallied over a water park in the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected. Images of densely-packed revelers at a pool party spread around the world in recent days, setting off fears that another wave of Covid-19 infections could spread from China. The Global Times, published by the Communist Party’s People’s Daily, reported Wuhan residents as saying the pictures were proof that the city had the virus under control.