16 states break records for new cases in one week, one-day global record also reported; ERs becoming flooded in US

Worldwide coronavirus infections and deaths continued to mount at an alarming pace Sunday as the World Health Organization again reported a single-day record of new infections.

In the U.S., 16 states and Puerto Rico hit new one-week records for new cases on Saturday. WHO reported 259,848 cases worldwide as the Johns Hopkins University’s global death toll surpassed 600,000. 

In parts of the United States, a fast-rising tide of new coronavirus cases is flooding emergency rooms. Some patients are being moved into hallways and nurses are working extra shifts to keep up with the surge. In Texas, Dr. Alison Haddock of the Baylor College of Medicine said the current situation is worse than after Hurricane Harvey, which swamped Houston with floodwaters in 2017.

“I’ve never seen anything like this COVID surge,” Haddock said. “We’re doing our best, but we’re not an ICU.”

Some recent developments: 

📈 Today’s stats: The U.S. has about 3.7 million cases and more than 140,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been 14.3 million cases and more than 600,000 deaths.

📰 What we’re reading: Houses of worship are figuring out how to safely practice their faith after religious gatherings have been repeatedly linked to outbreaks. Practices traditional to some religions, such as shaking hands, taking Communion and dipping the host in a chalice with wine, are ideal breeding grounds for the virus.

Texas sets weekly records for cases, deaths

A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows at least 16 states set records for new cases in a week while four states had a record number of deaths. New case records were set in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, and also Puerto Rico. Record numbers of deaths were reported in Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and Texas.

Michael Stucka

Global deaths pass 600,000

The world hit yet another startling milestone on Saturday as the global death tally surpassed 600,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Of the 188 countries tracked, only 17 have not yet reported a virus-related death. The U.S. has the highest number of fatalities, the only nation reporting more than 100,000 deaths. Confirmed cases of the virus have doubled globally since early June, according to data from the university. If deaths – which often lag weeks behind cases – follow a similar trend, the virus could become one of the top 10 global causes of death in coming months.

– Joel Shannon

85 babies have tested positive in Texas county

About 85 babies are among the thousands of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in one Texas county since March, Nueces County public health director Annette Rodriguez said. “These babies (have) not even had their first birthday yet – please help us to stop the spread of this disease,” Rodriguez said in a press conference.

The number of children younger than one who – at some point – were diagnosed with the virus would amount to about 1{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of the area’s total cumulative cases, which as of Friday totaled 8,176. Early data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the spring found that infants made up less than 1{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of cases nationally. Although children are believed to be at a lower risk for the virus, infants “may be at higher risk for severe illness,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns.

– Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, and Kirsten Crow, Corpus Christi Caller Times

As churches reopen, outbreaks are sprouting

Almost 40 places of worship and religious events have been linked to more than 650 U.S. cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to tracking by the New York Times. Along with the nationwide surge in infections that has followed the loosening of restrictions aimed at combating the virus, outbreaks connected to churches have sprouted at several spots.

Those include a Pentecostal church in northeastern Oregon tied to at least 236 positive tests; five flareups linked to churches in West Virginia, the largest one resulting in 51 infections; more than 50 cases stemming from an evangelical church outside San Antonio where the pastor allowed hugging again; a large worship service in Cleveland, Tennessee, that appears to have generated at least a dozen cases, including the pastor, who said he stopped counting after 12; a Christian camp in Missouri that had to shut down after 82 campers, counselors and staffers contracted the virus despite taking a number of precautions.

– Jorge L. Ortiz

Tommy Croft and Eddie Ford install plexiglass dividers on desks in a classroom at Oakland Heights Elementary School in Meridian, Miss.
Tommy Croft and Eddie Ford install plexiglass dividers on desks in a classroom at Oakland Heights Elementary School in Meridian, Miss.

What we’re reading

Ousted Florida scientist files whistleblower complaint

Florida’s former top coronavirus data scientist has filed a whistleblower complaint against the state’s Health Department, accusing the agency of firing her in retaliation for refusing to manipulate data to support the push to reopen Florida after months of quarantine. The complaint by former agency data manager Rebekah Jones targets Gov. Ron DeSantis directly.

“These efforts to falsify the numbers are a pattern and practice in Florida government that goes on to this day,” Jones’ attorney, Rick Johnson, said in a statement. “Ron DeSantis has routinely given false numbers to the press. His underlings at (the Health Department) follow his example and his direction.”

DeSantis has dismissed the complaint as part of a “partisan narrative.”

– Chris Persaud, The Palm Beach Post

More on the coronavirus from USA TODAY

Where a face mask is required: Many governors are instituting or renewing orders requiring people to wear face coverings in public as cases continue to rise. Is your state on the list? See it here

Coronavirus Watch: We have a few ways for you to stay informed. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here, and come together and share the latest information about the coronavirus, coping with lifestyle changes and more by joining our Facebook group.

Where are states on reopening? More than half of all states, including California and Michigan, have paused reopening plans or are taking steps to halt the spread of COVID-19. Here’s the list.

What went wrong in Florida? Two months after Gov. Ron DeSantis boasted about proving the experts wrong by flattening the curve and getting COVID-19 under control, Florida has become the state that other states don’t want to become.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus updates: ERs filling up in US; new global case record