A whopping 63,200 coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Thursday – another all-time, single-day high for new confirmed infections. The previous high was on Tuesday, when 60,000 cases were reported across the country, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
Still, much of America is pushing ahead with its reopening plans. There’s no bigger symbol of that than Walt Disney World, which started welcoming passholders Thursday for “previews” and will reopen to the general public on Saturday, with new safety rules in place, amid Florida’s surge in cases.
As “CBS This Morning” lead national correspondent David Begnaud reports, the return to Disney was pure magic for Lindsey Holmes. She said crowds were thin and park employees were strictly enforcing new rules on social distancing and wearing masks.
“I felt very safe being there,” she said.
“It was a fantastic experience and one that I think people would be surprised by.”
But not everyone is comfortable with Disney’s reopening.
“I think it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire,” said Dr. Terry Adirim, a physician and dean at Florida Atlantic University, who was concerned to see the theme park reopen. “I don’t think it’s going to help us drive down our case rates. I think it’s going to do the opposite.”
The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, noted there are parts of the country like New York — which was once the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic — “that are doing really well, that you’ve been through something really bad and you have things under control.”
“Other cities are doing well,” he told FiveThirtyEight’s COVID-19 podcast. “But as a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.”
In Texas, the number of coronavirus patients who are hospitalized has quadrupled in the last month to nearly 10,000, CBS News’ Mireya Villarreal reports. The age group with the highest number of confirmed cases in the state is 30- to 39-year-olds, and 39% of those who have contracted coronavirus are Hispanic.
“The COVID-19 virus in the city, quite frankly in the state, is out of control, and what we do today and over next few weeks is critical,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
In the hard-hit Rio Grande Valley, the largest hospital system says they are near capacity.
Another state with rising numbers is California, which has reported its highest COVID-19 death toll: 149 fatalities on Wednesday Los Angeles officials are considering another stay-home order if hospitalizations don’t fall.
In Arizona, in-patient hospitalizations hit a record high. Only 181 ICU beds are left in the state. In a little over two weeks, the state’s virus cases have more than doubled.
“The virus is widespread,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “And the more activity that is happening in our economy, the more, the spread will continue.”
More than 2,000 people in Arizona have died, including 65-year-old Mark Urquiza.
“My dad was my biggest fan,” said his daughter, Kristin. “He was so proud of me. He was the first person that I can remember loving.”
Kristin wrote a letter to the governor saying his decision to lift the stay-at-home order in May gave her father a false sense of security.
“We can ask people to make the right choices left and right, but folks in times of crisis turn to our leaders to send clear messages about what to do,” she told CBS News’ Villarreal. “I believe that my father was robbed of life and that his death was preventable.”