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U.S. sees more than 70,000 new coronavirus cases for second day in a row

U.S. sees over 3.6 million COVID-19 cases
Over 3.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases in U.S. as face mask battles continue 03:22

The United States saw more than 70,000 new coronavirus cases for a second straight day on Friday, with 71,600 new cases reported across the country. Thursday saw an all-time daily high of 77,300 new confirmed cases, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University

The U.S. total confirmed case count now tops 3.6 million, and over 139,000 people have died due to the virus. 

Throughout the South, the dire situation is being felt by doctors on the front lines, Michael George reported for "CBS This Morning: Saturday."

"It doesn't stop, and we don't know when it's going to stop at this point," said Andy Wilhelm, a critical care physician at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

In Florida, health officials are hoping for better news after days of record-setting case numbers. Intensive care units in eight of Miami-Dade County's 25 hospitals are full.

Health officials say what happens next is up to the public.

"We're hoping against hope that people are getting the message, that they're changing their behavior," said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist in Miami." If we don't see that by Monday, Tuesday, then yeah, it's possible that we may have to enact further measures."

The White House's coronavirus task force put 18 states – including Florida – in what it's calling the "red zone," and recommends that red zone counties require masks, according to a task force document obtained by CBS News but not made public.

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More than half the states already have mask mandates. In some places, police give fines to people not wearing them.

In Georgia, however, also considered a red zone, Governor Brian Kemp is vowing to fight against mask requirements. Earlier this week, he explicitly banned cities and counties in the state from ordering people to wear masks in public.

"While we all agree that wearing a mask is effective, I am confident that Georgians don't need a mandate to do the right thing," he said.

Some places that are seeing rising cases have rescinded orders that allowed businesses to reopen. Among them is California, which has seen a surge in the Los Angeles area. 

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday he is keeping public schools in 32 counties closed when classes resume in August, forcing millions of students to continue with distance learning.

The situation, meanwhile, continues to improve in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday the state has now seen its lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations – 743 – since mid-March. 

He said Friday that New York City, once the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, has been cleared to enter its final phase of reopening on Monday after shutting down four months ago. 

NY State Sends Medical Teams To Assist Coronavirus Testing Sites In Houston As City Sees Surge In Cases
Medical workers from New York wearing personal protective equipment test for the coronavirus at a temporary testing site for COVID-19 in Higher Dimensions Church on July 17, 2020 in Houston, Texas. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo dispatched medical workers from New York State to assist with the spread of COVID-19 in Houston, and particularly in the hard-hit communities of color. Getty Images
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