The staggering number means the country has about a quarter of the world’s cases of the virus and also tops the list of the most commonly reported deaths worldwide. More than 162,000 Americans have died.
The pandemic is showing no signs of slowing, and coast-to-coast health officials have called for the use of face masks in public places and asked residents to avoid all kinds of social gatherings until the spread of the virus is under control.
As of this week, five states combined hold more than 40% of all US infections: California (with most cases in the country), Florida, Texas, New York, and Georgia.
New York, once the epicenter of the country, has been surpassed by several states have seen spikes in a few cases over the past few months. The state now reports a positivity rate of around 0.93% ̵
1; how many people test positive compared to how many – according to the governor’s office.
“Despite rising infection rates across the country and our region, we continue to keep our numbers low thanks to the hard work New Yorkers are working on changing their behavior and our data-driven, gradual re-opening,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Saturday.
California, which reported more than 7,000 new cases on Saturday for a total of more than 545,000 cases, had a statewide positivity rate of about 6% in the past two weeks, according to health officials. Hospital stays across the state are falling, and there are now about 5,746 patients in hospitals across the state – fewer than 1,000 people in two weeks.
In Texas, the governor extended his disaster declaration in response to the coronavirus when the state reported its highest positivity rate for seven days: 19.41%. The previous high of 17.43% was recorded in mid-July. More than 481,000 infections have been reported nationwide, and around 7,872 people remain in hospitals.
Thousands gather in a small town in South Dakota
With the virus still rife in many US communities, a city in South Dakota has started to see visitors for the 80th annual Sturgis city motorcycle rally.
The state has had one of the lowest cases to date, with around 9,477 infections, according to the state’s Department of Health.
The event, which takes place in the city of around 7,000 residents, has drawn around 500,000 visitors each year. And while officials say this year will be a scaled-down version, hundreds of thousands of visitors are still expected from across the country – including hotspots like Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
Concerts, races and competitions are held daily at the nearby campsites. City officials said they had recommended social distancing guidelines and capacity restrictions for bars and restaurants, but none of these are legally enforceable, the city administrator told CNN.
Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor of infectious diseases at Emory University, says he is not worried about the rally itself as it will mostly be outside. Instead, he fears what will happen after hours when people go to restaurants and bars and gather indoors.
“I am quite concerned that this event could potentially be a disaster,” he said. “Not only could there be a lot of transmission there, but a lot of people could get infected there and go back to their home states and carry the virus over there.”
The event runs until August 16.
Coronavirus: your questions answered
Schools begin to welcome students back
As schools reopen for classes, researchers are still working to understand the spread and impact of the virus on children.
Research has shown that older children can transmit the coronavirus just as often as adults. Another study found that children under five years of age had higher levels of viral load from the virus in their nose compared to older children and adults, which also raises questions about how likely they are to transmit the virus.
And while some US officials said infection was a lower risk for younger populations, a 7-year-old boy died last week in Georgia with no underlying health conditions and became the state’s youngest victim. Earlier this month, two teenagers in Florida died of complications from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of minors who have died related to the virus in the state to seven.
In New York, where the positivity rate is below 1%, all school districts across the state have been cleared for reopening, Cuomo said on Friday. Plans could change if infection rates rise again before the planned reopenings.
Many schools in Georgia have already reopened.
At least 260 students and eight teachers in the Cherokee County’s school district have been quarantined after several students and teachers tested positive for the virus in their first week of school. In a statement on its website, the district reported positive cases in at least 11 students and two staff. Among them was a second grader who tested positive for the virus after the first day of school.
Barrow County Schools announced that the year would practically start after more than 90 employees were quarantined for having or had a confirmed or suspected case of the virus exposed to someone who did.
CNN’s Kay Jones, Melissa Alonso and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.