Coronavirus: US passes 150,000 deaths as infection rates spike in some states

30 July 2020, 09:25 | Updated: 30 July 2020, 10:27

More than 150,000 people have died with coronavirus in the US, as deaths in the country are rising at their fastest rate in two months.

A further 1,074 deaths were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total up to 150,159, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US has the highest coronavirus death toll in the world by far and infection rates have spiked in several states, especially in the south and west, this month.

Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, where cases have risen dramatically.

Texas recorded its highest number of deaths in a single day on Wednesday, reporting 313 fatalities. The state also confirmed 9,042 new cases on the same day, the most in nearly a week.

In Florida, there have been nearly 10,000 infections in the past 24 hours and 217 deaths.

California also reported a record-high 197 deaths over the same period.

In a separate tally, Reuters news agency said there were 1,461 new deaths recorded on Wednesday - meaning one person died roughly every minute with COVID-19.

This would also make it the highest one-day increase in deaths since 27 May, when the news agency tallied 1,484 deaths.

:: Listen to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker

Scientists say the outbreaks have largely been fuelled by young adults who are visiting bars, restaurants and gyms again.

Health experts have said the outbreak could be brought under more control if guidelines to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public were enforced nationwide.

Several states have been forced to make a U-turn on reopening their economies, while some school districts have pushed back against plans to open all schools by the autumn.

The Trump administration has threatened to withhold funding from schools that do not allow all of their students to return to physical classrooms - although the move has been condemned by Democrats.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has argued that the government has not provided enough guidance or resources to schools to allow a full reopening.