New COVID-19 cases top 45,000 for first time as White House task force reconvenes

For the second consecutive day, the U.S. reached a new daily high of coronavirus cases Friday: 45,255, according to data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University. 

The previous record was 39,972 cases reported June 24. The last record-setting high before this week was April 24 with 36,291 daily cases.

Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah reported their highest one-day case totals on Friday. 

At Friday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing ⁠— the first since April 27 ⁠— Vice President Mike Pence said the administration believes it has made progress in fighting COVID-19, but is reminded, as cases rise in 16 states, "that we still have work to do." 

He distinguished that in areas seeing large COVID-19 surges, adults under age 35 are making up more of those cases. The vice president signaled optimism with this statistic, calling it "at a certain level, very encouraging news as the experts tell us, because as we know so far in this pandemic, that younger Americans are less susceptible to serious outcomes of the coronavirus." 

Deborah Birx, MD, coordinator of the White House's COVID-19 task force, said the changing demographic of new cases accentuates the need for accelerated testing for people under age 40 given that they are most likely to have asymptomatic spread.

Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pleaded with Americans to remain vigilant and remember that states that aren’t experiencing a surge are not out of the woods. "They are vulnerable if we don’t extinguish the outbreak. Sooner or later, even ones that are doing well are going to be vulnerable to the spread," he said during the briefing.

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