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U.S. soars past 7 million COVID-19 cases as some states relax restrictions

U.S. surpasses 7 million COVID-19 cases
U.S. surpasses 7 million COVID-19 cases as states relax restrictions 03:07

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surpassed 7 million as flu season approaches. More than 55,000 new cases were reported nationwide on Friday, and over 203,000 people have died in the U.S. due to the virus.

Despite a warning from the CDC that 90% of Americans remain vulnerable to the virus, states are continuing to roll back restrictions as winter approaches and outdoor activities become limited in many places.

In Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis lifted restrictions on bars, restaurants and other businesses, pushing the state, which has long been a coronavirus hotspot, into "phase three" of reopening. He also said "we're not closing anything going forward."

"We're going to be able to host a Super Bowl in February," DeSantis said. 

That concerns Florida health professionals.

"It's not based on science," Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist, told CBS News' Michael George. "It's the kind of politics that's going to backfire."

At least eight states are reporting spikes in new virus cases, showing an increase of more than 60% in the past two weeks. Wisconsin saw its virus case load rise nearly 100%.

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According to the Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. cases rose 10% over the last few weeks. 

New York City, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, will allow restaurants to continue hosting outdoor dining indefinitely, and indoor dining will be allowed there starting September 30.

New Jersey, meanwhile, is sticking to its restrictions. Governor Phil Murphy announced a 30-day extension to the state's public health emergency.

Virginia is also keeping its protective measures in place, with Governor Ralph Northam and his wife testing positive for COVID-19

The virus' spread at a veterans facility known as the Soldiers' Home in Massachusetts became a landmark criminal matter — two administrators are charged with mixing patients sick with COVID-19 with others who did not show symptoms. 

"We believe this is the first criminal case in the country brought against those involved in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic," state Attorney General Maura Healey said in a press conference. "[The veterans] risked their lives, from the beaches of Normandy, to some, the jungles of Vietnam, and to know they died under the most horrific circumstances is truly shocking."

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