U.S. sees fewer than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases for 2nd day

Illinois National Guard member Hannah Gonder inspects a test swab at a COVID-19 testing site in East St. Louis on May 28. President Donald Trump on Monday authorized extensions for National Guard members to continue assisting in states' pandemic response. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Aug. 5 (UPI) — For the second day in a row, researchers say new COVID-19 cases in the United States have numbered under 50,000.

About 45,400 new cases were recorded Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the first time since late June with two straight days under 50,000. There were about 47,500 on Sunday. U.S. cases averaged about 60,000 per day in July.

The university has recorded 4.75 million U.S. cases since the pandemic began and 156,200 deaths.

Of the new cases reported Monday, 1,074 were in Mississippi, along with 42 new deaths. The state has had more than 62,000 cases and 1,753 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Over the past seven days, Mississippi has had the second-highest number of cases per 100,000 people at 274, one shy of Florida, according to a New York Times tracker.

On Tuesday, Gov. Tate Reeves implemented a statewide mask mandate at all public gatherings and businesses.

“I want to see college football. The best way for that to occur is for us all to realize that wearing a mask, as irritating as that can be — and I promise I hate it more than anyone watching — is critical,” he said during a news conference announcing the order.

Late Monday, President Donald Trump extended funding for National Guard troops to aid states with their coronavirus response. The extension authorizes funding through the end of the year, but at a reduced level.

An administration memo says the Federal Emergency Management Agency will fund 75% of National Guard activities “associated with preventing, mitigating and responding to the threat to public health and safety posed by the virus.”

That leaves states to pay 25% of the costs.

National Guard troops have aided operations such as testing, distributing protective equipment and augmenting staff at nursing homes.

Trump’s authorization came after a group of 42 governors asked for the extension, saying a refusal to do so would result in critical disruptions.

In California, the total caseload has climbed to nearly 515,000 and its death toll rose to about 9,400. However, after setting a one-day record for deaths over the weekend, just 32 were reported Monday.

Also, Monday was the first time in a month that the state saw fewer than 6,000 new cases. The most recent seven-day period there saw 54,000 new cases, a 21 percent decline from the week prior.

“We’re seeing modest declines overall — but we’re not out of the woods,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. “WEAR YOUR MASK.”

In Florida, health officials reported the lowest figures in more than a month on Monday — 4,700 new cases, the fewest since late June.

The state’s total caseload is nearly 492,000. Seventy-three new deaths were reported and 216 patients were hospitalized Monday, health officials said.

Florida also recorded a second consecutive day of positivity rates below 10% for the first time since mid-June.

“These are encouraging trends, but obviously there’s more work to do,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

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