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Texas and Arizona ramp up measures as U.S. coronavirus cases shatter records

Texas and Arizona officials ramped up measures on Thursday as the United States reported at least 70,000 new COVID-19 cases, a record daily increase for the seventh time this month, according to a Reuters tally.

U.S. deaths are also rising and have recently reached the highest levels since early June, led by Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to the tally. There has been an upswing in COVID-19 cases across the American South and West after state and local officials started loosening economic and social restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

Moreover, the rate of people testing positive among all those who are screened has exceeded 5% - a level above which health experts say is concerning - and was trending upward in some two dozen states over the past two weeks, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Arizona has registered the highest positivity rate, with nearly a quarter of everyone tested statewide found to be infected, followed by Florida at nearly 19%, South Carolina at 18% and Texas and Alabama each at 17%.

In Arizona, health officials announced a surge in available testing - up to 5,000 free tests a day - targeted in undeserved and high-need communities. More than half of all states - 30 out of 50 - have reported record one-day increases in cases this month. Infections are rising in almost all states, based on a Reuters analysis of cases the past two week compared with the prior two weeks.
The tally of known infections in Texas jumped by an all-time high of 10,791 cases statewide during the past 24 hours, and the state also reported a record 110 additional COVID-19 deaths, its fourth such daily benchmark this month. In Texas' Rio Grande Valley, officials are bringing in refrigerator trucks and authorities in Hidalgo County have requested additional help from funeral directors in other communities.

Authorities also organized give-aways of masks, hand sanitizer and food as residents struggle with both the health and economic crises. Nationally, the total number of cases surpassed 3.5 million, by far the highest number of any country in the world, and more than 137,000 Americans have died from the highly contagious respiratory illness to date.

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