New York reopens, other states spike and global cases hit 'grim record'
"It seems that almost every day we reach a new and grim record…." That new and grim record is that the world just experienced the biggest one-day jump in new COVID-19 cases ever, the World Health Organization's Director General said Monday. "Yesterday more than 183,000 cases of COVID were reported to WHO, easily the most in a single day so far. Some countries that have successfully suppressed transmission are now seeing an upswing in cases as they reopen their societies and economies. All countries are facing a delicate balance of protecting their people while minimizing the social and economic damage." In the U.S., New York City - once the epicenter of the global outbreak - officially entered Phase Two of its reopening, the last part of the state to do so. After 100 days in lockdown, many New Yorkers went to salons to get their first haircuts in months, shopped at re-opened retail stores and dined at outdoor cafés. But while new cases in New York and neighboring New Jersey are at record lows - with 1-2 percent of tests coming back positive - a dozen states in the South and Southwest have reported record increases in new cases. They include Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, together home to about one-third of the U.S. population. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state is averaging more than 3,500 new cases a day, with a positivity rate at almost 9 percent "COVID-19 is spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas and it must be corralled." He said he had no plans however to shut the economy down again. Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina are also among at least a dozen states that have seen record spikes in COVID-19, many due to transmission among young people. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday attributed those spikes to increased testing - "when you test more people you find more cases…" Something the WHO's executive director on Monday refuted. "What is clear is that the increase is not entirely explained through increased testing – there's some evidence of increased hospitalizations." The WHO director general on Monday also said a lack of global leadership and unity in fighting the virus was a bigger threat than the outbreak itself, and that politicization had made the pandemic worse. He did not mention President Trump by name, but Trump - who initially dismissed the threat of the coronavirus – later blamed WHO for its response and threatened to end all U.S. funding for the organization. Trump held his first rally in months in Tulsa Saturday, and will travel to Arizona Tuesday for a Phoenix youth gathering. More than 120,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the U.S.