FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images
Several Midwestern states saw a surge in new coronavirus cases Thursday, including Ohio, which saw its highest single-day increase in cases since the start of the pandemic.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the spike was "certainly not good news" during a press conference.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, attributed the recent outbreak in states like Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska to "vacations and other reasons of travel," she recently told Fox News.
With cases continuing to spike, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers mandated that all residents wear face coverings in public.
"While I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing face coverings in public, my job as governor is to put people first and to do what’s best for the people of our state, so that’s what I am going to do,” he said in a statement, per Reuters.
Dr. Anthony Fauci urged the governors of midwest states to “get ahead of the curve.”
According to a Reuters tally, Florida reported a record one-day increase in deaths for its third consecutive day on Thursday and Arizona also reported a record surge in fatalities. With regards to new cases, however, the numbers in these states are starting to slow.
Apu GOMES / AFP Californians wearing face masks
On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded 1,420 new deaths due to COVID-19, the most since May — representing nearly one death for every minute of the day. As of Friday morning, the United States has recorded more than 4.5 million cases of the virus, and at least 152, 431 people have died, according to The New York Times’ database.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirmed Wednesday that the cases of the virus in the Midwest states are on the rise.
“What we’re focusing on now is that there are a bunch of other states — for example Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana — which are starting to show that very subtle increase in percent positives among the total tested [for coronavirus],” he said in an interview with ABC News. “Which is a surefire hint that you may be getting into the same sort of trouble with those states that the Southern states got into trouble with.”
"Before you know it, two to three weeks down the pike, you're in trouble," he told MSNBC.
Fauci urged the governors of those states to “get ahead of the curve” and step up their public health precautions before their infections get out of hand. He advised universal mask requirements, closing bars and encouraging social distancing and hand washing.
“If we do that, hopefully we’ll prevent multiple other states from becoming just like the Southern states,” Fauci said to ABC News.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.