THE US was hammered by coronavirus infections in July, with twice as many cases than any other month as the outbreak’s epicenter cut a brutal swathe to the Midwest.
The horrifying new stats coincide with a surge in coronavirus conspiracy theories, hoaxes, anti-mask myths and sham cures.
There were more than 1.9 million new infections in July, according to stats compiled by The New York Times.
The paper says this tally is nearly 42 per cent of the more than 4.5 million cases reported nationwide since the pandemic began earlier this year.
It's also "more than double the number documented in any other month", and has rocketed past the previous monthly high in April, when more than 880,000 new cases were recorded.
The bleak milestone comes amid signs that the nation’s outbreak is beginning to stabilize in the Sun Belt but heating up in the Midwest, fueled largely by young adults who are hitting bars, restaurants and gyms again.
Chicago has added Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska and North Dakota to the list of states where people who are traveling to the city must quarantine for two weeks.
Illinois learned that its own residents must do the same when they travel to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.
Chicago officials said that beginning last Friday, July 31, anyone from those states who doesn’t comply with the requirement could face possible fines.
In Illinois, Governor. J.B. Pritzker told reporters: "We’re at a danger point."
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said that state's spike was "certainly not good news".
Speaking to Fox News, Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, blamed surges across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska on "vacations and other reasons of travel".
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has ordered people to wear protective face coverings to stop the spread of coronavirus.
He said: "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," while defending the mandate.
The surges coincide with a flood of misinformation and conspiracy theories about supposed cures and the effectiveness of masks.
These have unfolded largely on social media, and escalated this week when President Donald Trump retweeted a false video about an anti-malaria drug being a cure for the virus.
Trump also in a tweet repeated a false claim that high numbers of US cases are due to extensive testing.
Plus it was revealed that Russian intelligence is spreading disinformation about the crisis through English-language websites, reports the Associated Press.
Experts fear the torrent of bad information is dangerously undermining efforts to slow the virus, whose death toll in the US hit 150,000 on Wednesday, by far the highest in the world, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Reuters says that US coronavirus deaths rose by over 25,000 in July and cases doubled in 19 states during the month, dealing a crushing blow to hopes of quickly reopening the economy.
The United States recorded 1.87 million new cases in July, bringing total infections to 4.5 million, for an increase of 69 per cent.
Deaths in July rose 20 per cent to a nearly 154,000 total.
The biggest increases in July were in Florida, with over 310,000 new cases, followed by California and Texas with about 260,000 each. All three states saw cases double in June.
Cases also more than doubled in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to the tally.
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York had the lowest increases, with cases rising 8 per cent or less.
During July, 33 out of 50 American states had one-day record increases in cases and 19 set records for their rise in deaths in 24 hours, according to Reuters' tally.
After a rapid acceleration in cases, the outbreak appears to be stabilizing in Arizona, Florida and Texas.
US disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci said he's confident that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by early next year.
He told lawmakers that 250,000 Americans have already have volunteered to take part in clinical trials.
Officials testifying with Fauci at a contentious House hearing acknowledged that America remains unable to deliver all Covid-19 test results within two or three days.
They jointly pleaded with Americans to comply with basic precautions such as wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and washing their hands frequently.
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