By Lisa Shumaker
(Reuters) – Florida reported a record increase in new COVID-19 deaths for a third day in a row on Thursday, with 252 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department.
Arizona also reported a record increase with 172 fatalities on Thursday, bringing that state’s death toll to 3,626. Both states had been hotspots with major outbreaks but new cases have recently slowed in both, according to a Reuters tally.
Florida reported 9,956 new cases, bringing its total infections to over 461,000, the second highest in the country behind California. Florida’s total death toll rose to 6,709, the eighth highest in the nation.
Due to the spike in cases, the Miami-area school district, the nation’s fourth-largest district, said students would not return to classrooms when the new academic year begins in a few weeks.
Florida was among six states on Wednesday that reported single-day records for coronavirus deaths. California, Idaho, North Carolina, Texas and South Dakota also had their biggest one-day spikes in coronavirus fatalities since the pandemic started. California, Florida and Texas are the three most populous state and where about a quarter of all U.S. residents live.
One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday as the national death toll surpassed 150,000, the highest in the world. Deaths are rising at the fastest rate since early June.
Coronavirus cases are rising in 37 states, down from 44 a week ago, according to a Reuters analysis of cases the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks. Deaths are rising in 26 states, up from 23 last week.
Nationally, COVID-19 deaths have risen for three weeks in a row while the number of new cases week-over-week recently fell for the first time since June.
Reporting by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Nick Zieminski.