However, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield, SARS-CoV-2 infections are likely 10 times higher than reported. On Wednesday, Redfield blasted “misleading media reports” that have falsely claimed there are 24 times more infections than reported cases of COVID-19.
As of Thursday, the U.S. has recorded at least 4,005,414 cases, with at least 143,820 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The country continues to see a surge in cases, mostly in the Sun Belt. Florida has recently held the spotlight as cases continue to surge, laboratories grapple with “astronomical numbers” for virus positivity ratings and leaders face criticism over insufficient ICU capacity.
Florida state health officials announced 10,249 new cases on Thursday, raising the statewide reported total to 389,868 cases and 5,518 deaths.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that “there’s a testing industrial complex now ” that could be inflating positive COVID-19 test results. DeSantis defended the state’s hospital and intensive care unit capacity on Tuesday, saying recent criticism has been inaccurate.
Also, while New York City was once labeled the epicenter for the virus earlier in the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci recently touted New York’s response. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
“We’ve got to do the things that are very clear that we need to do to turn this around,” Fauci told “PBS NewsHour.” “Remember, we can do it. We know that when you do it properly, you bring down those cases. We’ve done it. We’ve done it in New York.”
“New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly by doing the things that you’re talking about,” added Fauci.
Meanwhile, California, the nation’s most populous state – became No. 1 in confirmed coronavirus cases overnight on Wednesday, overtaking New York, which now has more than 414,000 confirmed cases, according to multiple reports.
As coronavirus cases have surged to record levels in the Los Angeles area, officials said last week that the nation’s largest county is entering “an alarming and dangerous phase” that if not reversed, could overwhelm intensive care units and usher in more sweeping closures.
Also, in his first official press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic since April, President Trump on Tuesday admitted that the public health crisis is likely to worsen as cases surge across the country and asked all Americans to wear masks in public.
“It will get worse before it gets better,” Trump said of the pandemic that has infected close to 4 million Americans. “That’s something I don’t like saying but it is.”
News of the latest milestone also comes amid a controversial debate over school reopenings for the fall. President Trump, pushing for schools across the country to reopen, said during a coronavirus briefing he would be comfortable sending his son and grandchildren back to school in the fall.
“I would like to see the schools open, open 100 percent, we’ll do it safely, we’ll do it carefully,” Trump said, adding that children have “very strong immune systems.”
Fox News’ Yael Halon, Morgan Phillips, Sam Dorman, Talia Kaplan, Dom Calicchio and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.