Virus update: States hit brakes on plans as US cases near all-time high
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Virus update: States hit brakes on plans as US cases near all-time high

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The coronavirus crisis deepened in Arizona on Thursday, and the governor of Texas began to backtrack after making one of the most aggressive pushes in the nation to reopen, as the daily number of confirmed cases across the U.S. closed in on the peak reached during the dark days of late April.

While greatly expanded testing probably accounts for some of the increase, experts say other measures indicate the virus is making a comeback. Daily deaths, hospitalizations and the percentage of tests that are coming back positive have also have been rising over the past few weeks in parts of the country, mostly in the South and West. Read the full story here:

Here's an update on more developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • Dr. Rick Bright, a government whistleblower ousted from a leading role in battling COVID-19, alleged Thursday that the Trump administration has intensified its campaign to punish him for revealing shortcomings in the U.S. response. He said in an amended complaint filed with a federal watchdog agency that he has been relegated to a lesser role in his new assignment at the National Institutes of Health, unable to lend his full expertise to the battle against COVID-19.
  • Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday. Legal and political issues hang over the misdirected taxpayer funds, the latest example of errors in massive aid being dispensed at crisis speed.
  • U.S. officials estimate that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, meaning that the vast majority of the population remains susceptible. Thursday's estimate is roughly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed. Officials have long known that millions of people were infected without knowing it and that many cases are being missed because of gaps in testing.
  • Having access to quick test results will play an important role in resuming sporting events, keeping businesses and factories open and returning to school in the fall. But an AP survey found it sometimes still takes days for results to be returned, despite an increase in the availability of testing across the country.
  • As President Donald Trump visited a Wisconsin shipyard to emphasize job growth and reviving an economy hammered by the coronavirus, Joe Biden spent Thursday in Pennsylvania warning “there are no miracles coming" to help the nation beat back the still deadly pandemic.
  • Chuck E. Cheese, where kids could be kids while parents nursed headaches, is filing for bankruptcy protection. The 43-year-old chain, which drew kids with pizza, video games and a singing mouse mascot, was struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The number of laid-off workers seeking U.S. unemployment aid barely fell last week, and the reopening of small businesses has leveled off — evidence that the job market's gains may have stalled just as a surge in coronavirus cases is endangering an economic recovery. The government also reported Thursday that the economy contracted at a 5% annual rate in the first three months of the year, a further sign of the damage being inflicted by the viral pandemic.
  • The nation's top public health agency on Thursday revamped its list of which Americans are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, adding pregnant women and removing age alone as a factor.
  • The Trump administration on Thursday moved forward with a policy ordering public schools across the U.S. to share coronavirus relief funding with private schools at a higher rate than federal law typically requires. Under a new rule issued by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, school districts are ordered to set aside a portion of their aid for private schools using a formula based on the total number of private school students in the district.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for maps and charts tracking the virus spread.

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