U.S. hits highest single day of coronavirus cases at 36,358, breaking April record

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A Sun Tran employee offers free masks to passengers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the downtown bus station in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., June 20, 2020.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

The U.S. broke its record for the highest coronavirus cases recorded in a single day, with 36,358 new positives reported on Wednesday, according to a tally by NBC News.

Wednesday’s cases top the previous highest day count from April 26 — the first peak of the pandemic in the U.S. — by 73 cases, according to NBC News tracking data. The World Health Organization saw its single-day record on Sunday with more 183,000 cases worldwide.

Health experts told NBC News on Monday that the resurgence in cases in Southern and Western states can be traced back to Memorial Day, when many officials began loosening lockdowns and reopening businesses.

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Meanwhile, the Northeast region have seen significant decreases in cases as authorities in the area have maintained policies around social distancing and wearing face masks.

Visitors who travel from U.S. hotspots who arrive in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be asked to quarantine for two weeks, the governors of those states announced Wednesday.

Unfortunately, as many states struggle to contain the virus after prematurely loosening restrictions, hospitals are becoming overwhelmed by patients.

In Florida, where more than 109,000 cases have been reported, capacity for adult intensive care units is only 21 percent, according to state data updated on Wednesday. Arizona has only 12 percent of its ICU beds available, the state health department reported Tuesday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, praised California’s response to the pandemic and likened the battle against the coronavirus to a social justice crusade.

“Californians have risen to the occasion on social issues so well in the past, you’ve been the leaders in the country on those things,” Fauci told the Sacramento Press Club on Wednesday.

“This is an issue that really has social responsibility associated with it.”

Despite the praise from Fauci, California also saw its biggest single day coronavirus tally on Wednesday. An additional 7,149 reported cases brought the state’s total of confirmed cases to 190,222.

Gov. Gavin Newsom pleaded with Californians on Wednesday to continue using face coverings to try and halt the spread of the virus.

“You’re not invincible from COVID-19,” Newsom said. “Quite the contrary, this is a disease that easily spreads, very easily spreads.”

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