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New Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Rise for Fourth Straight Day

The Wall Street Journal. logo The Wall Street Journal. 8/28/2020 David Hall
a man and a woman standing in front of a building © carlo allegri/Reuters

New coronavirus cases in the U.S. climbed above 40,000 for the second day in a row, as the impact of Hurricane Laura added to the challenges some states face in containing the virus’s spread.

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said during an interview with MSNBC that Hurricane Laura, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm, was going to complicate efforts to contain Covid-19, and that it has been a significant challenge to deal with a natural catastrophe during the pandemic.

Louisiana reported 723 new coronavirus cases and 23 additional deaths, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

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Louisiana shut testing sites in advance of the storm, which left at least six dead and tens of thousands without power. Mr. Edwards said it would be difficult to get them running again because of storm damage and staffing issues. They were run by members of the National Guard working on storm relief.

Nationwide, the U.S. reported nearly 46,000 new cases for Thursday, a slight rise from the previous day and the fourth consecutive increase in the daily tally, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s death toll approached 181,000, with more than 1,000 fatalities reported on Thursday, though this is off the highs for August and the record number of 2,666 deaths recorded in mid-April.

Texas reported more than 3,900 cases Thursday, down from Wednesday’s total of 6,300 new cases, which was the state’s highest daily tally since Aug. 18, according to Johns Hopkins data.

California reported more than 4,800 new cases for Thursday, though the actual number may be higher. Gov. Gavin Newsom said earlier this week that wildfires were affecting some of the state’s testing labs.

Colleges continued to struggle with rising cases of Covid-19 on campus. The University of South Carolina reported 191 new cases Thursday, doubling the total number of cases recorded by the university so far. Officials placed three more sorority houses under quarantine, University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen said in a town hall. Mr. Calsen said the school “could not sustain” this number of new cases in a day and said he asked his chief of staff to develop potential shut down options.

In the U.S. territory of Guam, 112 new cases were recorded, 28 of which were reported by the Department of Defense. Guam’s governor extended an order for people to stay home and for all nonessential businesses to remain closed. Felix Cabrera, chief medical officer at Guam Regional Medical City, said the island’s fragile health-care system was stretched to the limit.

Elsewhere in the world, India reported 77,266 new cases, a single-day record, taking its total to nearly 3.4 million, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The country’s death toll rose by 1,057 to 61,529. The Indian government has asked the 10 states that have accounted for about 90% of the country’s death toll in the past two weeks to ramp up efforts to limit the spread through tracing, testing and surveillance.

Face masks are now mandatory everywhere in the French capital Paris and its suburbs, an area of nearly seven million people. The measure applies to pedestrians and cyclists in all public places and is being introduced to curb a recent sharp rise in cases.

South Korea reported 371 new cases, bringing the total to 19,077, with more than 4,300 occurring since Aug. 14. On Friday, the country tightened social-distancing measures in the Seoul metropolitan area. Under the new rules, gatherings will be limited to 10 people until Sept. 13. Restaurants and cafes must close by 9 p.m. and only takeout or delivery services will be allowed afterward. Gyms and other sports facilities will be forced to close starting Sunday.

“There may be difficulties, but I ask the people to actively cooperate with the measures,” South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said.

New Zealand reported five new locally transmitted cases and seven infections in people who are being quarantined in hotels. The five local cases were all linked to a recent outbreak in Auckland, the center of the pandemic’s resurgence in the country.

In neighboring Australia, New South Wales state, home to Sydney, reported 13 new cases, bringing its total number to 3,830, while Victoria state, which has faced a large number of infections in recent weeks, reported 113 new cases and 12 fatalities.

Write to David Hall at david.hall@wsj.com

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