The US leads the world in Covid-19 cases by far, accounting for well over a third of the global total of over 10 million since the virus emerged late last year in China.

Jasmine Bermudez and Brad Philbert stop to take a photograph in front of the
Jasmine Bermudez and Brad Philbert stop to take a photograph in front of the "Charging Bull" statue while wearing masks to prevent exposure to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in New York, US, March 17, 2020. (Reuters)

The United States is nearing 2.6 million coronavirus cases, as efforts to reopen the world's economic powerhouse were dramatically set back by a surge of new infections in states such as Florida.

Infections are also up in some other parts of the world that have reopened.

The US leads the world in Covid-19 cases by far, accounting for well over a third of the global total of over 10 million since the virus emerged late last year in China.

The tension between reopening battered economies —  efforts pushed in the US by President Donald Trump —  and public health is a source of debate in nearly every country.

READ MORE: Latest global Covid-19 updates

'Explosion' in Florida 

In Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has conceded there has been an "explosion" in new cases.

The "Sunshine State" notched 9,585 cases in 24 hours, a new daily record.

The average age of people infected has dropped sharply — to 33 from 65 two months ago. Young people frustrated by months of confinement have poured back to the state's beaches, boardwalks and bars, often without masks and seemingly unconcerned about social distancing.

Miami announced beaches will close over the July 4 holiday weekend. Bars are also closing.

Georgia, Nevada and South Carolina also reported new daily record cases on Saturday, while Arizona broke its record for hospitalisations.

With Trump struggling to lift his re-election bid off the ground ahead of November, the campaign confirmed that events featuring Vice President Mike Pence in Arizona and Florida next week have been postponed "out of an abundance of caution."

Trump had faced a backlash after insisting on a rally in Oklahoma despite virus concerns one week ago.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered some areas to reinstate stay-at-home orders, while San Francisco announced a "pause" in its reopening.

Texas also shut down its bars. Governor Greg Abbott, another Republican who resisted lockdowns, said Friday that if he could "go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars."

Texas was among the first US states to reopen.

Source: AFP