Arizona, Florida, Texas record single-day COVID-19 highs

Editor's Note: This story was updated on Jun 26, 2020, to correct the date that Colorado's restaurants opened for in-person dining.

Yesterday Arizona, Florida, and Texas all reported record single-day record tallies of new COVID-19 cases, according to the New York Times. Arizona recorded 2,392 cases, Florida reported 2,783 new cases, and Texas tracked 2,622.

Today the case total in Arizona reached 40,924—double of what it was on Jun 1.

In Florida, positive test percentages rose to 4.5% between May 31 and Jun 6, compared with about 2.3% of people tested in mid-May. So far Florida Health has tracked 82,719 cases and 3,018 deaths in the state.

"The fact that these are going up means there's more community spread," Palm Beach County Health Director Alina Alonso, MD, told National Public Radio. "The virus now has food out there. It has people that are out there without masks, without maintaining distancing. So it's infecting more people."

According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard, the country has 2,153,203 cases and 117,568 deaths.

Texas governor blames bar-goers for increase

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott, who has advocated for reopening his state's economy, blamed bar-goers and young adults for the increase of cases. In Austin, 20- to 29-year-olds make up for 24% of all hospitalizations in the area.

"There are certain counties where a majority of the people who are tested positive in that county are under the age of 30, and this typically results from people going to the bar type settings," Abbott said during a press conference yesterday. "That is the case in Lubbock County, Bexar County, Cameron County."

Under Abbott's loosening of stay-at-home mandates, bars and restaurants can operate at 75% capacity in Texas, as long as patrons are seated 6 feet away from each other, or there are physical barriers in place at dining establishments.

Across Texas this weekend, bars and restaurants announced temporary closures after employees tested positive for the virus.

Several states currently seeing a rise in cases had an early- to mid-May reopening. But some states that opened early, including Colorado, have thus far avoided a spike in cases. Colorado's safe opening is attributed to Governor Jared Polis's slow easing of restrictions. Restaurants and bars have opened for in-person dining on May 27.

"We're only a few steps ahead of this virus" Polis said in a Politico piece. "We can't let good news give us a false sense of security. We see some of our neighboring states, Arizona and Utah, moving the wrong way."

Blacks in Atlanta more likely to be hospitalized

Today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, data on COVID-19 hospitalizations in Atlanta in March and April showed that 79% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were black, while 13% were white. The city comprises 54% blacks and 33% whites.

The mean age of hospitalized patients was 61, and hospitalized patients were more likely to be obese and have diabetes.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted persistent health disparities in the United States. In a previous investigation of hospitalized patients in Georgia, including the subset of hospitalized patients reported here, the proportion of patients who were black was higher than expected based on overall hospitalizations during the same period," the authors concluded.

New treatments enter testing

In the wake of the Food and Drug Administration revoking its emergency waiver of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, several new therapies for COVID-19 have entered testing this week.

Eli Lilly has announced it will start a phase 3 trial of baricitinib, an arthritis drug. The trial will look at outcomes among 400 patients with COVID-19 who have at least one marker for inflammation but have not been placed on a ventilator.

Human trials will begin in July on SAB Biotherapeutics's novel antibody treatment derived from the plasma of cows. The cows are genetically engineered to have part-human immune systems.

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