US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Seraiah Wolf.

June 25, 2020; CNN, “Health”

In California, Texas, and Florida, records are being set daily for new coronavirus cases, sometimes followed by waves of restrictions, all of which has implications for reopening plans and the economy in general.

Both Florida and Texas say that on Tuesday they recorded in excess of 5,000 new COVID-19 cases, while California logged more than 7,000 cases. These three states alone account for 27.5 percent of the population of the US.

Houston looks like it may, in the end, be the US’s hardest-hit city; projections indicate it may see another fourfold increase in the next week or so. Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, tells Anderson Cooper “the big metro areas seem to be rising very quickly, and some of the models are on the verge of being apocalyptic.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants people to stay home if they can. “Because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave,” Abbott tells CBS affiliate KBTX. “The safest place for you is at your home.” Harris County, which contains Houston, has strengthened its safety requirements, and other counties are beginning to follow suit, requiring masks in stores and other establishments.

“Going out in public without a mask is like driving drunk,” says Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University. “If you don’t get hurt, you might kill somebody else.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, 26 states, at a minimum, are seeing their numbers rise week over week, and infection rates appear to be shifting to younger groups.—Ruth McCambridge