• U.S. COVID-19 cases hit 55,220 cases, its largest single-day high
  • Cases look set to remain beyond or near the 50,000 mark for the next week as new COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the U.S.
  • Driving the rise are cases in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas

The raging post-Memorial Day COVID-19 surge saw the United States post its largest single-day total of 55,220 cases, and the second straight day with more than 50,000 confirmed new cases nationwide on Thursday. The four states hardest hit by this crippling spike -- Arizona, California, Texas and Florida -- again reported record numbers of new cases and hospitalizations.

Data compiled by The Washington Post show more than 55,220 new COVID-19 cases Thursday evening. It exceeded Wednesday’s record of 52,789, the first time the new case toll exceeded 50,000.

Johns Hopkins University reported a slightly lower number, but one also above 50,000. It recorded 50,203 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, while Worldometer reported 51,097 cases in the U.S. Wednesday's horrific record eclipsed the previous high of 45,255 new cases recorded on June 26.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported more than 2.69 million cases in the U.S. and 128,000 deaths. On the other hand, Worldometer reported 2.78 million cases and 130,000 deaths on Wednesday.

With a population of 21 million, Florida revealed 10,109 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, a new single-day record high. It reported 6,563 cases Wednesday. Thursday was the 25th straight day the state set a record high in its seven-day rolling average.

According to Reuters, infections rose by 168%, or by more than 95,000 new cases. The positivity rate has skyrocketed to 15% from 4% in late May. Florida has reported more new daily COVID-19 cases than any European country had at the height of their outbreaks.

Only New York has suffered more than 10,000 new cases in a single day. New York reported 12,847 new infections on April 10.

Arizona's positivity rate is even worse and is the highest in the country at 25%. Its target positivity rate is 5%. Dr. Joe Gerald from the University of Arizona's Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, said the rate of infections in the state are accelerating and cases are doubling every two weeks. If this continues, he said Arizona "is soon going to be in considerable trouble." ICU beds in Arizona are at 90% of capacity.

Government works are handing out free masks and protective advice in Miami amid a surge in cases in Florida
Government works are handing out free masks and protective advice in Miami amid a surge in cases in Florida AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

Arizona health authorities are reporting their new cases are skewing much younger with people in their 20s and 30s. The situation facing the state is so grave Gov. Doug Doucey (R) on Wednesday requested the federal government for 500 additional medical personnel. Vice President Pence, who visited Arizona Wednesday, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will identify available personnel.

On Wednesday, Arizona continued to break records and reported almost 5,000 new COVID-19 cases and a high of 88 new deaths on Wednesday.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Thursday making it mandatory for all Texans to wear a face covering while out in public to help stem the state's new outbreak that threatens to spin out of control. Abbott's order applies to all counties in Texas with 20 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases.

"Due to recent substantial increases in COVID-19 positive cases, and increases in the COVID-19 positivity rate and hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19, further measures are needed to achieve the least restrictive means for reducing the growing spread of COVID-19, and to avoid a need for more extreme measures," said Abbott in his executive order.

On Thursday, Texas reported 7,915 confirmed cases, bringing its total to nearly 176,000. It reported 8,076 new cases Wednesday.