25 de septiembre de 2020
English - News

US in "new phase" of virus pandemic with infections in urban, rural areas

Washington, Aug 2 (efe-epa).- The United States is facing a "new phase" in the coronavirus pandemic, which is accelerating its spread in both urban and rural parts of the country, motivating authorities to recommend that the public redouble precautionary measures.

The warning was made by the coordinator of the White House Covid-19 task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, who admitted that what the country is now seeing is "different" than what it experienced in March and April.

"It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas," she said on CNN.

After east coast states like New York and New Jersey were battered by the pandemic in past months, a huge number of newer cases are now being seen in California, Florida and Texas.

As of Sunday, the US had confirmed 4.65 million coronarivus cases, 154,779 of which have proved to be fatal.

Birx said that the virus, which reportedly infected its first victim in the US last January, has spread considerably throughout the country.

She also urged people to follow the recommendations of health authorities, emphasizing that people who live in rural areas are not "immune" to or "protected" from the virus.

"This epidemic right now is different and it's more widespread and it's both rural and urban," Birx said, adding that regardless of where one lives in the US, they must wear face masks.

"If you're in multi-generational households, and there's an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home, assuming that you're positive, if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities," Birx said.

She also said that remote teaching must be conducted for schoolchildren in areas where there are large numbers of cases and where the virus is actively spreading.

"It's not superspreading individuals, it's superspreading events and we need to stop those. We definitely need to take more precautions," Birx said, urging people to avoid going to bars, holding house parties, or organizing largescale gatherings and the like, all with an eye toward bringing the pandemic under control.

On Sunday, Florida registered 7,104 new Covid-19 cases and 62 deaths from the disease over the past 24 hours.

So far, the state with its population of 21 million, has detected 487,132 cases and suffered 7,084 deaths, according to official figures.

Just a week ago, authorities reported a new daily record of 9,344 confirmed cases in a 24-hour period in the Sunshine State.

California, with its population of some 40 million, is the state with the highest caseload so far - 508,447 - followed by Texas with 444,738, with authorities in both states now forced to suspend their plans to reopen those states' economies.

New York remains the hardest-hit US state, with 32,710 Covid-19 deaths and 416,298 confirmed cases.

And as the pandemic continues to spread, it continues to affect millions of Americans who have lost their jobs because of the economic shutdowns and quarantines, as well as the delays in being able to fully resume non-essential activities.

To alleviate the situation, Democratic leaders and representatives of President Donald Trump are negotiating a new aid and/or stimulus package, although at present no agreement seems to be in the offing as yet.

Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" said that "we still have a long ways to go."

"I'm not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term," he said.

The talks in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Meadows are participating have attracted special interest after on Friday the unemployment aid included in the late-March fiscal rescue plan expired, thus depriving millions of Americans of the $600 per week they had been receiving to augment their unemployment subsidies.

The Department of Labor estimates that more than 17 million Americans are receiving unemployment assistance amid the economic debacle caused by the pandemic, which has resulted in the US unemployment rate skyrocketing to 11.1 percent in June after starting the year at a much more "normal" and economically acceptable rate of 3.5 percent.


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