US registers 61,262 Covid-19 cases within 24 hours

A healthcare worker takes a swab sample from a driver at a drive-through Covid-19 testing site in Florida. (AP pic)

WASHINGTON: The US counted 61,262 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours leading up to 8.30pm Saturday (0030 GMT Sunday), according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

It was the fifth consecutive day with more than 60,000 infections recorded, according to the Baltimore-based university. There were also 1,051 deaths in the 24-hour period.

The US has now tallied more than 4.6 million cases and 154,319 deaths, making it the hardest-hit country in the world.

The new numbers came as Florida braced for the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaias, which is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane as it approached the southeastern part of the virus-ravaged state.

Among US states, only California, with almost double Florida’s population of about 21 million people, has registered more coronavirus cases.

On Saturday, Florida reported another 179 deaths, setting a new state record and pushing its virus death toll to 6,843.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said it’s better to “just hunker down rather than sending people to the road” – with shelters usually crowded and social distancing difficult – unless the situation became more threatening.

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