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LIVE STREAM: White House task force holds briefing as coronavirus cases surge

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Vice President Mike Pence speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Vice President Mike Pence speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – The White House coronavirus task force will hold its first briefing in several weeks as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the U.S.

The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases per day in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 40,000 Friday — eclipsing the mark set during one of the deadliest stretches in late April — in a resurgence that has led some governors to backtrack or at least pause the reopening of their states.

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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 hospitalizations in parts of the country, especially in the South and West. Arizona, Texas, Florida and Arkansas are among the states that have been hit hard.

The number of confirmed new 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 U.S. are down to around 600 per day, compared with about 2,200 in mid-April. Some experts have expressed doubt that deaths will return to that level, in part because of advances in treatment and prevention but also because a large share of the new infections are in younger adults, who are more likely than older ones to survive.

The virus is blamed for 124,000 deaths in the U.S. and 2.4 million confirmed infections nationwide, by Johns Hopkins’ count. But U.S. 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-million lives, according to Johns Hopkins.