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New coronavirus cases in U.S. jump to highest level in 2 months, since peak of outbreak

26 states see rise in daily COVID-19 cases
26 states see rise in daily COVID-19 cases 02:06

New coronavirus cases in the United States have surged to their highest level in two months and are now back to where they were at the peak of the outbreak. New cases have been surging for more than a week after trending down for more than six weeks. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. reported 34,700 new COVID-19 cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University that was published on Wednesday. There have only been two previous days that the U.S. has reported more cases: April 9 and April 24, when a record 36,400 cases were logged.

While early hot spots like New York and New Jersey have seen cases steadily decline, the virus has been hitting the south and west. Several states on Tuesday set single-day records for new cases, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas. 

Over the last two weeks, coronavirus hospitalizations have trended upward in at least 14 states, including Texas, where there's concern the spread is accelerating,  CBS News' Mireya Villarreal reported Wednesday.

Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist hospitals, said the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in that city has tripled since Memorial Day.

"If we don't all work together to bring this curve back down, yes, we're gonna have a challenging situation," he said.

As the average rate of positive tests continues to rise, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is urging people in his state to stay home.

"Because the spread is so rampant right now, there's never a reason for you to have to leave your home," he said.

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Texas is one of 26 states reporting an increase in average daily coronavirus cases compared to two weeks ago. Cases in Oklahoma are up 245% over that same period, and 168% in Florida.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, told Congress on Tuesday that the next couple of weeks will be critical in addressing the surges in Florida, Texas, Arizona and other states. He urged people not to go into crowds, and wear masks if they do.

Fauci also expressed confidence that a vaccine could be ready by the end of this year or early 2021, saying it's a matter of "'when,' and not 'if.'"

Cases have been climbing elsewhere worldwide. India has reported a record daily increase of almost 16,000 new cases. Mexico has also set a record with more than 6,200 new cases, and the country reported nearly 800 new deaths on Wednesday.

Over 9.2 million people globally have been infected with the virus and more than 478,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

-Grace Segers contributed reporting.

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