FILE PHOTO: A medical staff member treats a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista, California, U.S., May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
(Reuters) – Twenty U.S. states reported an increase in new cases of COVID-19 for the week ended May 24, up from 13 states in the prior week, as the death toll from the novel coronavirus approaches 100,000, according to a Reuters analysis.
South Carolina had the biggest weekly increase at 42%. Alabama’s new cases rose 28% from the previous week, Missouri’s rose 27% and North Carolina’s rose 26%, according to the analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.
New cases in Georgia, one of the first states to reopen, rose 21% after two weeks of declines. (Open tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive)
Nationally, new cases of COVID-19 fell 0.8% for the week ended May 24, compared with a decline of 8% in the prior week. All 50 states have now at least partially reopened, raising fears among some health officials of a second wave of outbreaks. The increase in cases could also be due to more testing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended states wait for their daily number of new COVID-19 cases to fall for 14 days before easing social distancing restrictions.
As of May 24, 15 states had met that criteria, up from 13 in the prior week, according to the Reuters analysis. Washington state, where the U.S. outbreak started, has the longest streak with cases falling for eight weeks in a row, followed by Hawaii at seven weeks and Pennsylvania and New York at six weeks.
Washington state posted the biggest drop in cases, down over 50%, followed by Kentucky, where new cases fell nearly 30%. New York saw new cases drop 23%, according to the Reuters analysis.
Texas saw new cases fall 15% after they rose 22% in the prior week.
(GRAPHIC: Tracking the novel coronavirus in the U.S. – here)
Reporting by Chris Canipe in Kansas City, Missouri, and Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Tiffany Wu