Almost 1 in 5 new cases of the coronavirus reported around the world came from just three U.S. states — Florida, Texas and California — a new NBC News tally revealed Tuesday.
The 27,574 cases recorded in those states Monday accounted for 18.9 percent of the global total and represented more than a third of the 61,751 new cases reported in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the two-week death total in Texas was up by 99 percent over the previous two weeks.
In Florida, the two-week death total rose by nearly 84 percent, and in California it jumped by nearly 27 percent.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there had been 3,407,556 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., and the death toll was 136,832, NBC News figures showed.
Florida reported 9,194 more cases and 133 deaths from Monday. Texas added 7,489 cases and 59 deaths. California recorded 5,063 more cases and 40 deaths.
On Tuesday evening, Los Angeles County alone announced a new single day record with 4,244 cases and 73 deaths.
Arizona, which has also had big increases in new cases in recent weeks, reported 4,273 more infections and 92 more deaths.
Texas’ Latino community has been hit especially hard of late, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat whose district includes San Antonio, blamed President Donald Trump and Gov. Greg Abbott for being “slow to test people, slow to trace the infection and slow to treat people.”
They “tried to pretend like it wasn’t a big problem because they didn’t want to end up on the news every day the way New York did, and that’s had an incredible effect on this community, and in the last three weeks, it’s really exploded,” Castro told MSNBC’s Garrett Haake.
Trump and Abbott have been accused of not having moved quickly enough to combat the coronavirus, and it wasn’t until this month that Abbott mandated that people wear masks in public. Trump wore a mask for the first time in public just two days ago, and he predicted this month that the pandemic would “just disappear.”
The staggering new sums were reported as Dr. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health and human services for health, insisted on NBC’s “TODAY” that “we’re turning the corner on the current outbreak.”
“We are all very concerned about the outbreak,” Giroir said. “About half the cases are in four states: Texas, California, Florida and Arizona. But we are in a much different place now than we were several months ago, a much better place.”
Maybe. But 41 states have had increases in cases over the last two weeks, and eight states have had spikes of more than 100 percent over the last 14 days, according to NBC News’ Medical Unit.
And when Vice President Mike Pence arrived Tuesday in Louisiana to meet with officials about the pandemic, state Attorney General Mike Landry wasn’t there to greet him on the tarmac because he has tested positive, The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge reported.
“Out of an overabundance of caution with the Vice President coming to our state, I was tested for Cornavirus,” Landry wrote in an email to staffers. “Though experiencing no symptoms, I tested positive for COVID-19.”
In other developments:
- Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., a member of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus, announced that he had tested positive. He and other members of the caucus appeared five days ago at a news conference where they stressed the need to reopen schools despite the pandemic. While Griffith brought along a mask, an NBC News producer who was there noted that he didn’t wear it much.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan warned that he would shut down bars and eateries that fail to adhere to social distancing requirements or insist that patrons wear masks while inside. “The vast majority of bars and restaurants in our state are in compliance, but some are flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health,” Hogan wrote. Hogan, a Republican, has been widely praised for taking decisive steps — well before the White House acted — to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Maryland.
- The National Center for Assisted Living, which represents the nursing home industry, warned that the spike in new COVID-19 cases could “lead to a dramatic increase in cases in long term facilities.” In a letter to the National Governors Association, the group said speeding up testing is key to preventing another calamity.
“The amount of time it is taking to receive testing results is hurting the ability of long term facilities to fight the virus,” the letter states. “For nursing homes and assisted living communities to protect residents and staff, we need on-site testing with reliable and rapid results.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump ally, warned against any attempt to “undermine” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. NBC News has reported that the White House was seeking to discredit Fauci, whose more sober assessments of the pandemic have been colliding with the rosier outlook Trump has been pushing.
“We don’t have a Dr. Fauci problem,” Graham said. “I have all the respect in the world for Dr. Fauci. I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, quite frankly.” Trump has also denied trying to torpedo Fauci.
There was also a smidgen of troubling news out of New York, which in April was posting Texas-size case numbers and since then has succeeded in flattening the coronavirus curve.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that 1.5 percent of the 60,045 COVID-19 tests performed Monday came back positive. That is the highest positive rate in the state since June 5.
Cuomo also reported five more coronavirus deaths Monday.
On Sunday, the State Department of Health reported that there were zero COVID-19 deaths Saturday, the first time that has happened since March 13.