US coronavirus: Contact tracing is no longer possible across the South due to

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“The cases are rising so rapidly, that we cannot even do contact tracing anymore. I don’t see how it’s possible to even do that,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday.

The rapid rise in cases is considered a surge, not a second wave, because the infection numbers never lowered to where officials hoped they would, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a Facebook and Twitter livestream Monday.

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More than 130,300 people in the US have died from coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Though Florida set a record for most new cases in a single day over the weekend, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education Richard Corcoran announced Monday in an emergency order that its schools will open their doors in August.

But the state is among at least 24 that are pausing or rolling back their reopening plans for the summer in light of surging cases.

“Let’s wait and see,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday of moving to Phase 3 of his state’s plan, which means the state will keep bars closed and restaurants at 50% capacity. “I know how frustrating this can be, but right now, with this pandemic flaring up in a majority of other states, this is not the time to take a risk.”

‘We are in a free fall’

At least 31 states have showed an upward trend in average new daily cases — an increase of at least 10% — over the last seven days, as of Tuesday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Those states are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington state, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Fauci says US coronavirus situation is 'really not good' as new cases surge

Only four states have seen average daily cases decline more than 10% over those seven days: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

One of the main drivers of cases now could be “silent spreaders,” or people who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic, according to a new study.

The report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that asymptomatic or presymptomatic hosts could be responsible for half of cases.

“We are in free fall,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. “You see the footage of what happened this past weekend. And people are either naive to the influence of their actions, or they’re simply resigned to ignore it.”

After weeks of health officials encouraging the public to wear face masks, at least 35 states along with Washington DC and Puerto Rico have implemented face covering requirements to help mitigate the virus’ spread.

Rising cases threaten hospital capacity

With increased spread comes concerns about exceeding hospitals’ capacity.

Along with 1,214 new…

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