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The coronavirus is continuing to wallop the United States.
More than 4.4 million people have tested positive for the infection and the country has surpassed 150,000 COVID-19 deaths.
California and Florida set single-day fatality records, and Texas surpassed New York's caseload.
Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed worry about states in the Midwest, telling ABC News that a rising COVID-19 positivity rate is a "surefire sign that you've got to be really careful."
The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to rock the United States.
More than 4.4 million people have been infected in the worst outbreak on earth, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The country set yet another grim milestone on Wednesday: The number of COVID-19 deaths crossed 150,000.
The White House created a report that has not been made public, urging 21 states in "the red zone" to enforce additional restrictions, including mandating the use of face masks, shutting down bars and gyms, and limiting social gatherings to 10 people, according to The New York Times.
These hard-hit states have recorded more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past week, The Times reported.
The list includes: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
Texas, Florida, and California set grim records on Wednesday
This week, many of these states saw record increases in their coronavirus outbreaks.
California, which has the highest number of cases in the US — more than 485,800 — reported its highest single-day increase in fatalities on Wednesday.
"Tragically, CA surpassed another somber milestone today: 197 deaths. Our highest reported in a single day," Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote on Twitter. The total number of dead is now at least 8,912.
Florida, with the second-worst outbreak in the nation, broke its own single-day COVID-19 death record as officials scramble to shut down coronavirus testing sites to prepare for Tropical Storm Isaias.
The state's Department of Health announced 253 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bumping up the total number of fatalities to more than 6,500. The previous daily record was 216 deaths, set just one day prior.
Texas confirmed almost 419,000 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, overtaking New York's caseload. It is now the third worst-impacted state in the country, Johns Hopkins data shows.
Fauci and Birx are worried about the Midwest
As cases and deaths soared this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News: "We just can't afford, yet again, another surge."
In particular, Fauci expressed concern about the state of affairs in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.
A "very early indication" of increasing COVID-19 positivity rates is a "surefire sign that you've got to be really careful," Fauci said on "Good Morning America."
Fauci told ABC News that he and Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, talked to the states' governors and urged them to take steps to curb the infection's rate of transmission. Per their suggestions, people are advised to wear face masks, wash their hands frequently, and steer clear of large crowds and indoor spaces like bars where the coronavirus can spread easily.
"If we do that, hopefully we'll prevent multiple other states from becoming just like the southern states," he added.
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