U.S. reports fewer than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases for 2nd day

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Aug. 11 (UPI) -- For the second day in a row, the United States has reported a daily count of fewer than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases.

According to new figures Tuesday from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, there were about 49,500 cases nationally on Monday. Sunday's figure was about 47,000.

The two-day streak under 50,000 is the first in a week and just the second since early July.

The updated figures from Johns Hopkins showed 5.094 million cases and 163,400 deaths in the United States since the start of the pandemic. There were about 500 new deaths Monday.

New cases are also declining in Florida, which reported fewer than 4,500 on Monday for the first time in weeks. State officials noted an addition of 4,100 -- the lowest figure since June 23.

The state, which experienced a substantial surge in cases last month, has so far given more than 4 million coronavirus tests.

"These are not just blips at this point," Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a meeting with teachers near Tampa, where they discussed children returning to schools. About a fifth of all COVID cases in Florida have been diagnosed in patients younger than 24.

"[I] understand there's a lot of angst out there, there's a lot of fear," he said. "It does us no good to tell a parent, 'You go ahead and send your kid if you're not comfortable with it.'"

Several Florida counties have already started their new school years.

In Louisiana, Jefferson Parish decided to delay the start of fall classes for two weeks. Students were scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Jefferson Parish is part of the New Orleans metropolitan area and its school district is the largest in the state.

Superintendent James Gray said the decision was made due to "concerns expressed by teachers" and anticipated availability of rapid coronavirus tests after Aug. 26.

In California, Los Angeles County's top health official said she's "cautiously optimistic" the spread is slowing due to improved prevention efforts.

L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said key indicators show "signs of stability." The county has seen an average of 37 deaths per day for the last two weeks.

Earlier, however, California's top health official resigned after it became known that a computer glitch was responsible for underreporting case numbers.

"Although our data is showing signs of stability, everyone knows we do have a delay in getting accurate reporting from our labs," Ferrer told reporters.

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