In the past week, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever 7-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, the Washington Post reports. The increases are being fueled by rural outbreaks in southern and western states, many of which were quick to reopen on or around May 1, when national physical distancing efforts officially ended. According to the Post, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah have all seen their highest case counts since the start of June. Many of the outbreaks come in towns and communities with fewer than 60,000 residents, a stark contrast to the first wave of the US pandemic, which saw the virus burn through major cities, such as New York, Chicago, and Detroit. The Texas Tribune says that state’s 14-day trend shows a 71% rise in cases, with hot spots in prison and meatpacking plants. State officials said mass testing, especially in prisons, has bumped up case count. Yesterday, 1,935 Texans were hospitalized for the virus, the most recorded in the outbreak. Per the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker, the country has 1,971,302 cases and 111,620 deaths.

 

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