The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases per day in the US hit an all-time high of 40,000 — eclipsing the mark set during one of the deadliest stretches in late April.

The figure represents a resurgence that has led some governors to backtrack or at least pause the reopening of their states.

While the increase is believed to reflect, in part, greatly expanded testing, experts say there is ample evidence the virus is making a comeback, including rising deaths and hospitalisations in parts of the country, especially in the South and West.

READ MORE:  Orthopaedic surgeon warns it will take 'years' to clear Covid backlog - as planned ops restart for under 70s first

Arizona, Texas and Florida are among the states that have been hit hard.

The number of confirmed infections soared past the previous high set on April 24 of 36,400, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Deaths from the coronavirus in the US are down to around 600 per day, compared with about 2,200 in mid-April.

HeraldScotland:

Florida has banned alcohol consumption at its bars on Friday as the coronavirus threatened to spiral out of control in the state.

The move came as Florida’s daily confirmed coronavirus cases neared 9,000, a new record almost double the previous mark set just two days earlier.

The Florida agency that governs bars announced the alcohol ban on Twitter just minutes after the Department of Health reported 8,942 new confirmed cases, topping the previous record of 5,500 set on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced he would sign an executive order closing beaches in the county over the Fourth of July weekend.

“I have decided that the only prudent thing to do to tamp down this recent uptick is to crack down on recreational activities that put our overall community at higher risk,” he said in a statement.

State officials have attributed much of the new outbreak to young adults flocking to bars after they reopened in most of the state three weeks ago, with many of them ignoring social distancing restrictions aimed at lowering the virus’s spread.

The virus is blamed for 124,000 deaths in the US and 2.4 million confirmed infections nationwide, by Johns Hopkins’ count.

But US health officials said the true number of Americans infected is about 20 million, or almost 10 times higher. Worldwide, the virus has claimed close to a half-a-million lives, according to Johns Hopkins.

Elsewhere around the world, China moved closer to containing a fresh outbreak in Beijing.

HeraldScotland:

Another record daily increase in India pushed the caseload in the world’s second most populous nation toward half a million.

And other countries with big populations like Indonesia, Pakistan and Mexico grappled with large numbers of infections and strained health care systems.

South Africa, which accounts for about half of the infections on the African continent with over 118,000, reported a record of nearly 6,600 new cases after loosening what had been one of the world’s strictest lockdowns earlier this month.

Italy, one of the hardest-hit European nations, battled to control an outbreak among Bulgarian seasonal crop pickers near Naples.

READ MORE:  Herald Campaign: Exact location of memorial garden for Scots coronavirus victims is revealed

The governor of the southern Campania region insisted that the workers who live in an apartment complex with dozens of Covid-19 cases stay inside for just over two weeks, not even emerging for food — authorities will deliver groceries to them.

In the US, Arizona reported over 3,000 additional infections on Thursday, the fourth day in a week with a increase over that mark. The state postponed further efforts to reopen.

The numbers “continue to go in the wrong direction,” said Republican Gov Doug Ducey said.

Similarly, Republican Gov Greg Abbott of Texas put off lifting any more restrictions Thursday and reimposed a ban on elective surgeries in some places to preserve hospital space after the number of patients statewide more than doubled in two weeks.

And Nevada’s governor ordered the wearing of face masks in public, Las Vegas casinos included.