Coronavirus curve rises in Florida and Texas
Why it matters: Both states have continued to ease lockdown restrictions despite the rising infection rates. Florida entered its second phase of reopening last Friday, and Texas is well into its third phase, as both states allow most or all businesses to admit half as many people as they typically would.
What's happening: Florida reported a significantly higher number of new coronavirus deaths on Friday — 29 in total — after daily fatalities declined for the previous week. The daily death count in Texas has largely plateaued, albeit with frequent spikes.
- Texas has seen over 82,000 cases and more than 1,900 deaths as of Friday, while Florida counts over 70,000 infections and more than 2,800 fatalities.
- Transmission in Houston — the epicenter of the virus for the state — is uncontrolled and poses a significant threat to the community, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at a Thursday press conference.
- "We don't have evidence that the public health measures we have in place are able to limit that community transmission," Hidalgo added.
- Houston's mayor called for residents to "flatten the curve again," as Hidalgo advised people to social distance, wear face coverings and avoid crowds.
- The average age of those being hospitalized for the virus in Houston is decreasing, David Persse, public health authority for Houston, told reporters on Thursday. He partially attributed the trend to increased testing in nursing homes and young people choosing not to social distance or wear masks.
- Over 1,000 new infections have been reported every day since last Tuesday. At least 11,700 people have been hospitalized across the state, with 135 more reported on Friday, per the Miami Herald.
- Florida saw a 65% increase in the number of coronavirus tests performed this week alongside a 65% increase in cases, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Sam Baker report.
- "I think it's important for people to understand who is being tested now, compared to who was being tested in March and early April when we had our peaks then," Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters on Friday, when asked about rising cases. "Back then, you needed to have symptoms, and you really, unless you got a doctor's note, in our tests sites, cause of CDC's guidance, you're looking at age 65 and above."
- President Trump's acceptance speech as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee will be held in Jacksonville, Florida. That county has reported a much higher concentration of COVID-19 infections than the rest of north Florida.
The big picture: Infections are also rising in California, North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, Louisiana and Washington state, per a New York Times analysis.
What to watch: "If cases begin to go up again, particularly if they go up dramatically, it's important to recognize that more mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again," Jay Butler, CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases and COVID-19 response incident, said Friday.
Go deeper: Coronavirus curve rises in Florida