At least a dozen states apparently recorded their highest single-day death tolls from COVID-19 this week as governors across the country have moved forward with plans to reopen. Texas, Florida, and Illinois reported their deadliest days of the pandemic within hours of their respective governors announcing intentions to roll back local lockdown restrictions.
Texas, which had its deadliest day Thursday with 50 new deaths, will allow for the reopening of "restaurants, retailers, malls, and movie theaters" at 25 percent capacity, The Hill reports. Florida, where new deaths jumped by 83 on Tuesday, is allowing more beaches to reopen as well as certain businesses, beginning Monday, The Miami Herald writes. Illinois saw a record 144 people die in a 24-hour period this week, but will go ahead with "state parks, golf courses, retail stores, and garden centers" reopening, CNN reports. Many additional states, including Iowa, which had its highest death toll Wednesday, are also going forward with plans to energize the economy, with governors telling workers who refuse to go back to their jobs due to health concerns that they'll lose their unemployment benefits.
Overall, new cases of coronavirus are increasing in 18 states as well as in Puerto Rico, according to analysis by The New York Times. Cases have plateaued in 20 states, and are only on the downswing in 13 states plus Guam. Additionally, experts fear that coronavirus cases are being unreported nationwide due to ongoing problems with adequate testing; excess mortality data suggests there are as many as 25,000 additional people who have died due to the pandemic, whether they actually contracted COVID-19 or it impacted their health in other ways.
This week, confirmed U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 exceeded the death toll of the entirety of the 20-year Vietnam War, passing 63,000. The first known death from coronavirus in the U.S. was on Feb. 6.