As the nation focused on the presidential election on Friday, Texas was quietly nearing its 1 millionth case of Covid-19.
There were 993,065 confirmed cases on the books as of Friday morning, the latest numbers from NBC News showed.
And with Texas averaging 7,000 new infections a day for the past two weeks, NBC News predicted the state would be the first to cross the million-case mark later on Friday.
Texas dwarfed California, which currently has 960,361 cases, in this sad category last month. Numerous new cases have emerged in both states in the past two weeks.
New coronavirus cases rose 40 percent in Texas and 31 percent in California, the NBC News analysis found. And those improvements were among what drove the United States to a record 122,365 new cases on Friday, NBC News confirmed. This surpassed the previous record of daily coronavirus cases set on Thursday, the day after the nation first surged 100,000 new cases.
With nearly 9.7 million cases and nearly 237,000 deaths, the US leads the world in both coronavirus categories, according to the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard.
The number of deaths in Texas also rose 10 percent in the past two weeks, to a total of 18,977, according to an analysis on Friday morning.
That’s far less than New York, which leads the nation with 34,521 deaths. But New York was hit hard early in the March and April pandemic, when scientists were still trying to figure out how the virus spread.
In contrast, 94 percent of coronavirus cases and 91 percent of deaths in Texas have occurred since late May after Governor Greg Abbott began easing restrictions at President Donald Trump’s urging to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which showed Numbers.
In other coronavirus news:
- While the daily record of new Covid-19 cases has been shaken, the White House coronavirus task force has not officially met since October 20, NBC News’ Monica Alba reported. Several members of the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met in smaller groups. One meeting included Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s greatest infection expert, whose dire warnings about the pandemic infuriated Trump.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is sending more National Guard members to airports to enforce state quarantine rules. Thirty-six states and two US territories are currently on the advisory list. That means anyone who comes to New York from any of these places will have to be quarantined for 14 days or possibly fined. “You shouldn’t land if you don’t have evidence of a negative test when you land,” said Cuomo.
- The NBA is hoping at least some fans will be back in the arenas to find their favorite teams when the new season kicks off in December.
- Denmark said it will have plans to kill millions of minks infected with a Covid-19 mutation, even after the World Health Organization said it was unsure whether the animals were a risk to humans. “We’d rather go a step too far than a step too little to fight Covid-19,” said Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod.
- The number of Americans who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks due to the pandemic rose from 2.4 million in the previous month to 3.6 million in October. And economists fear that “millions of jobs in a variety of service industries could be gone forever,” NBC News reported.
In response, Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze insisted in an email that the governor “was pursuing a strategy that was proven effective in slowing the summer’s spread and containing COVID-19 while keeping businesses safe enable”.
“Governor Abbott continues to rely on the data-driven hospital metrics used by doctors and medical professionals to inform and guide the state’s ongoing efforts to mitigate COVID-19,” Eze wrote.
In March, when Texas was still under lockdown, Lt. Gov. Dan has harshly criticized Patrick for being willing to risk their own health and lives to allow the country to “go back to work” amid the pandemic.
“Those of us who are over 70 years old will take care of ourselves,” Patrick, a Republican, told Fox News. “But don’t sacrifice the land.”
Abbott hit the pause button on the state’s reopening in June, however, as Texas hospitals flooded with Covid-19 patients and closed bars that public health experts found were the main breeding ground for new infections.
“As I said from the start, the state of Texas would take further action to curb the spread of Covid-19 if the positivity rate went above 10 percent,” Abbott said in a June statement. “It’s clear at this point that the surge in cases is largely due to certain types of activity, including Texans gathered in bars.”
But Abbott didn’t issue a nationwide mask mandate until July.
The World Health Organization advises governments to maintain a positive test rate of 5 percent or less for 14 days before reopening.
The rate in Texas is currently 10.07 percent, the data shows. However, in other states like Wisconsin it is far higher. According to the latest statistics from that state’s Department of Health, a third of those tested in the past seven days (33 percent) were positive.
Wisconsin also reported a record high of 6,141 new Covid-19 cases and 62 more deaths on Friday.