Many states in the United States have moved to halt or backtrack their economic reopening following a sudden surge of new COVID-19 infections this week.
Governor Ron DeSantis of southeastern U.S. state Florida on Friday ordered to close bars immediately as a record of 8,942 new COVID-19 cases were reported in a single day. The previous record of 5,511 was set just two days ago.
With Friday's tally, Florida now has reported nearly 123,000 coronavirus cases, with more than 32,000 of them confirmed just over the last seven days.
In Texas, one of the earliest states to begin reopening, all bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 p.m. Friday (1700 GMT), according to an executive order issued by governor Greg Abbott.
The order also banned outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people unless approved by local governments.
The number of daily confirmed COVID-19 new cases in Texas broke records three times this week, bringing the total positive cases in the state to nearly 132,000 on Thursday.
At least nine other states have announced that they are not moving ahead to the next phase of reopening, CNN reported on Friday. These states are Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina.
More than 30 states are battling rising numbers, said CNN.
The country has set a record for new COVID-19 cases for the third time in three days, passing the 40,000 level for the first time, according to tracking by The Washington Post.
Nationwide, total confirmed cases topped 2.45 million with about 125,000 deaths as of Friday afternoon, showed the data from Johns Hopkins university.
The number of people in the United States who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely to be 10 times as high as the current public count of confirmed cases, hitting a striking level of more than 20 million, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The estimate is based on serology testing and the tally of registered cases, CDC officials told reporters on Thursday, adding that many people, especially young people who do not show symptoms yet but have contacted vulnerable groups should get tested.
Another forecast warns that by Oct. 1, the U.S. death toll of COVID-19 would near 180,000, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington.
But the number could drop to 146,047 if at least 95 percent of Americans wear masks in public, the institute said in a statement on Wednesday.
"There is no doubt that even as states open up, the United States is still grappling with a large epidemic on a course to increase beginning in late August and intensifying in September," said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray.
"People need to know that wearing masks can reduce transmission of the virus by as much as 50 percent, and those who refuse are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk," he added.
The increase in numbers in some parts of the United States could be attributed to many factors including states reopening too soon or citizenry not following the appropriate guidelines, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at a White House coronavirus task force press briefing on Friday.
Fauci urged individual citizens to follow precautions, saying each person has a "societal responsibility" to help curb the virus.
The states of Washington, North Carolina and California have recently joined a dozen other states, including New York, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Delaware and Maryland, to issue mask-wearing orders.