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Florida, Texas and California fuel surge of new COVID-19 infections

The coronavirus has killed more than 136,000 Americans as Florida, Alabama and Utah all set records for the number of people killed by the virus in the past 24 hours. In Florida, 132 new deaths were reported Tuesday, the most ever for that state. One of every 5 new cases in the world is coming from just three states: Florida, Texas and California.

With infections spiking in 41 states, hospitals are facing a crisis with ICU beds, along with doctors and nurses in short supply. This comes at the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted the COVID-19 outbreak will only get worse later this year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday that he expects deaths to rise again, but not to the levels seen in the last peak in the spring.

He also said there should be no problem getting children back to school in areas where the outbreak is minimal. But the decision should be up to local officials.

Florida — coronavirus
A health care worker signs people up for testing at a COVID-19 testing site at the Miami Beach Convention Center, during the coronavirus pandemic, on Monday, July 13, 2020, in Miami Beach, Florida. Lynne Sladky / AP

On Tuesday, the CEO of Miami's largest health system said one-third of all their patients have the coronavirus and about 200 employees have come with the virus.

The steady stream of new COVID-19 patients into Florida hospitals is pushing doctors and nurses to their limits.

Dr. Mark Supino is back to work at Jackson Memorial's ER in Miami after contracting the virus himself.

"... it's really about keeping our heads above water," he told CBS News. "We have the resources that we need, fortunately. How much longer can we go? ... I think part of the challenge is not knowing how much longer there is to go."

Florida reported 132 new deaths, a one-day record. Lakeisha Snipes, a Miami bus driver, was among those who died this week.

Governor Ron DeSantis said he's activated 3,000 relief nurses for the Sunshine State.

But one Florida nurse who went to New York City to help during the height of the outbreak there, only to now be dealing with it at home, said getting new nurses could be difficult.

"Right now, Texas is sucking in all ICU ER nurses," she explained. "They're getting all the specialty nurses. Arizona is getting the leftovers of that. So what does Florida get?"

All those states need them. In Texas, where hospitalizations have surged nearly 60% over the last two weeks, some smaller hospitals are having to turn away COVID patients. In the Rio Grande Valley, ambulances are waiting five to 12 hours to deliver patients.

In Arizona, Moises Ramirez Loza has been on a ventilator for more than a week. His first-floor room — a saving grace — is allowing his children to keep vigil.

California's renewed attempt to stop the spread — closing down all bars, indoor dining and in some counties, gyms and nail salons — is getting pushback.

New York pressed ahead on Tuesday with an effort to require visitors from 22 states to self-quarantine or face up to a $10,000 fine. And with the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville just over a month away, organizers are planning to move events to outdoor venues given Florida's coronavirus surge.

Meanwhile, Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC warned that not wearing masks over the next few weeks could turn dire, especially when the coronavirus pandemic coincides with another flu season. If everyone wore face coverings, the virus could be stopped in four to 12 weeks.

"I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be probably one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health," he said.

On Tuesday, there were promising results in testing of a new COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Moderna, based in Massachusetts. The vaccine produced antibodies in all of the patients who've received it. The vaccine now moves on to the next phase of testing.

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