Mass. Reports 28 More Deaths as US Reaches 2.5 Million Cases

Massachusetts, which once had the third-most cases in the country, now has the seventh most, according to NBC News' count

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Another 28 people with the coronavirus have died in Massachusetts and 373 new cases were detected, health officials said Saturday, when the nation reached 2.5 million cases of the virus.

Massachusetts has long been one of the major coronavirus hot spots in the U.S., and on Friday its death toll reached 8,000, third most in the country behind New York and New Jersey. But all three states have seen their daily numbers decrease substantially since the peaks of their surges.

As of Saturday, Massachusetts had a death toll of 8,041 and 108,443 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases.

Attention has shifted from the United States' Northeast to the South and Southwest, where states like Florida, Texas and Arizona are experiencing their own surges.

Florida and Nevada both reported record daily rise in coronavirus cases Saturday. Massachusetts, which once had the third-most cases in the country, now has the seventh most, according to NBC News' count. Nationwide, more than 2.5 million people have contracted the virus and more than 125,000 of them have died.

How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart

This graph shows how the number of coronavirus cases have grown in Massachusetts, in the context of the other U.S. states, dating to the early days of the pandemic. It shows how many cases have been diagnosed each day in each state since their 500th cases. Select a state from the dropdown to highlight its track.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

The new surges are happening because states are reopening too fast and without the proper testing and tracing mechanisms in place, a Harvard public health expert said on the "TODAY" show Saturday.

"We opened up too fast. We opened up bars, we opened up nightclubs, and it's the combination of all of that that has led us to where we are today," said Dr. Ashish Jha, who leads the Harvard Global Health Institute.

In Massachusetts, the second step of Phase 2 of the state's 4-phased reopening plan went effect on Monday. It allows indoor dining to begin, increases capacity at offices from 25% to 50% and allows retailers to open fitting rooms, though by appointment only.

The six indicators informing how fast Massachusetts can move through the four phases of reopening the state are: the COVID-19 positive test rate, the number of individuals who died from COVID-19, the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, the health care system's readiness, testing capacity, contact tracing capabilities. Their statuses have held steady, with half in a positive trend and half "in progress" since June 5.

On Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker pledged $275 million for economic recovery in areas like housing and business competitiveness.

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