(NEW YORK) — Numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise as protests continue to erupt across the country. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, COVID-19 deaths surpassed 110,000 on Saturday.
The nation officially surpassed 100,000 deaths on May 27. The current death toll stands at 110,482 as of Sunday evening.
The steady increase of cases and deaths have health officials concerned that, due to relaxing stay-at-home orders partnered with the protests have contributed to a much wider spread of the virus.
States that are in the midst of reopening, such as Texas, have reported an uptick in cases.
“We’re seeing the numbers increasing. They’re not increasing exponentially, but they’re increasing linearly in time with the same steady pace,” said Dr. David Persse, medical director for the Houston Fire Department. “So the optimizations are in fact, increasing our case counts.”
Dr. Persse doesn’t believe the protests are strongly affecting the new numbers, telling ABC News, “If it stays at this, this sort of same rate of increase, then I definitely won’t say you can blame the protests. If anything, it’s going to be the reopening of society and people becoming fatigued, if you will, with the precautions we’ve asked them to take.”
However, other officials say it’s too early to tell if protests have had any impact on the spread of the virus. Curative CEO Fred Turner says that a lack of social distancing has been seen in overcrowded beaches and stores that have opened up after being shuttered for months due to the pandemic.
“It is impossible to separate out which is contributing the most of these. Most likely we’re seeing Memorial Day and reopening right now,” he explained. “We really won’t know for another week how much of an impact the protests have had.”
Globally, the death toll is over 400,000 with confirmed cases swiftly approaching 7,000,000. Currently, worldwide cases stand at 6,981,701 according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., confirmed cases stand at 1,938,842 as of Sunday evening.
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