The Northeast, once the virus’s biggest hot spot, has improved considerably since its peak in April, when the region suffered more than any other region of the country. Yet cases are now increasing slightly in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as residents move around more freely and gather more frequently in groups.
Across the country, deaths from the coronavirus continue to rise. The country was averaging about 500 per day at the start of July. Over the last week, it has averaged more than 1,000 daily, with many of those concentrated in Sun Belt states. On Wednesday, California, Florida and Texas reported a combined 724 deaths, about half the national total.
Houston, the fourth-largest city in the country, has been adjusting to a new normal where the only thing certain is that nothing is certain. After cases and hospitalizations seemed to level off and even decrease in recent days, Harris County on Friday broke a single-day record with 2,100 new cases.
“I think to a certain extent, we saw a spike because people were fatigued over it,” said Alan Rosen, who leads the Harris County Precinct One constable’s office. “They were fatigued over hearing about it every day. They were fatigued about being cooped up in their house and being away from people.”
People there have been coping with the lulls and peaks of a physical, emotional, fiscal and logistical crisis from an invisible foe nearly three years after surviving Hurricane Harvey, one of the worst disasters in American history.
“It is a roller coaster,” said Mr. Rosen, who recovered after getting infected with the virus in May. “It’s not like a hurricane that’s coming through and we know what to do. We know we got to clean up and rebuild and everybody is accustomed to the time frame. But with this, there are just so many unknowns.”
Julie Bosman reported from Chicago, Manny Fernandez from Houston and Thomas Fuller from Alturas, Calif. Mitch Smith contributed reporting from Chicago.