June 24, 2020 / 3:55 PM / 13 days ago

U.S. sees second-largest rise in new coronavirus cases since crisis began

(Reuters) - The United States has recorded the second-largest increase in coronavirus cases since the health crisis began, with a rise of 35,588 new infections on Tuesday as a dozen states see infections surge, according to a Reuters tally.

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker walks to work as storm clouds gather over the Texas Medical Center, amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Houston, Texas, U.S., June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Florida saw a record increase on Wednesday of over 5,500 new cases. On Tuesday, Arizona, California, Mississippi and Nevada had record rises. Texas set a record on Monday.

While the United States appeared to have curbed the outbreak in May, leading many states to lift restrictions on social and economic activity, the virus is moving into rural areas and other places that it had not initially penetrated deeply. The surge in cases on Tuesday was the highest since a record of 36,426 new infections on April 24.

The virus is also renewing its surge in states that opened up early to ease the devastating effect of the restrictions on local economies.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday acknowledged “hot spot spikes” were emerging as people return to work and gather in social settings but told reporters “that nobody is talking ... about going into another economic lockdown.”

She said that the White House coronavirus task force planned to meet later on Wednesday.

Overall cases rose 25% last week, with 10 states reporting a greater than 50% rise in new infections, according to a Reuters analysis.

While some of the increased numbers of cases can be attributed to more testing, the numbers do not correlate.

The average number of tests has risen 7.6% over the last seven days, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, while the average number of new cases rose 30%.

The percentage of positive tests is also rising.

At least four states are averaging double-digit rates of positive tests for the virus, such as Arizona at 20%. By contrast, New York, formerly the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, has been reporting positive test rates of around 1%.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in his daily briefing on Wednesday that he and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have been discussing the possibility of quarantining people coming to the city from U.S. hot spots where infections are spiking.

He said he would have more to say about that soon.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing documents it had obtained, that European Union nations were considering a ban on travelers from the United States, along with Russia and Brazil, as they reopen to tourists.

(GRAPHIC: Where coronavirus cases are rising in the United States here)

(GRAPHIC: Tracking the novel coronavirus in the U.S. here)

Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago, Susan Heavey in Washington and Peter Szekely in New York; Writing by Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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