President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he would abolish the Republican Nominating Convention in Florida since the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. exceeded four million.
Trump said he would cancel the Jacksonville event next month because it was not the right time to hold a "large, crowded meeting".
"The timing of this event is not right, it just doesn't match what's happened recently," he said at a press conference at the White House.
Trump spoke just hours after Johns Hopkins University reported that there are now more than four million COVID-19 cases in the United States.
With a total of 4,028,741 cases and more than 144,000 deaths, the United States is by far the most affected country in the world, with Brazil and India ranked second and third in infection rates.
The country has seen an increase in coronavirus, particularly in the southern and western states, and Texas, California, Alabama, Idaho and Florida have all announced the number of fatalities in one day.
Trump said congress events would be "online in some form".
Republican delegates who will nominate him as the party's candidate in the November election against Democrat Joe Biden will gather in North Carolina for a "relatively quick meeting," he said.
The main reason for canceling the Jacksonville event was "security," he said.
"It is difficult for us to say that we should put a lot of people in one room and other people shouldn't," he said. "There is nothing more crowded than a conference.
"I think we'll give an example."
The Republican Congress was scheduled for August 24-27 in Jacksonville, but the city has become a virus hotspot.
– & # 39; make preparations to open & # 39; –
Trump also reiterated that he wanted schools to open in the fall.
"Being in school, being on campus is very, very important," he said. "In cities or states that are currently hotspots … districts may have to delay reopening by a few weeks.
"The decision should be made based on local data and facts in each community, but each district should actively prepare for the opening," he said.
There are signs of hope in some regions.
In southwestern Arizona, which broke 5,000 cases a day at the end of June, infections have dropped steadily this month and are now at 2,000.
Florida's new cases have flattened after an average of seven days in the past week, while the growth rate in Texas is gradually slowing.
The death rate remains high in all three states due to the inevitable delay between the progression of the disease and death.
Florida, for example, announced 173 deaths on Thursday, a new daily record.
– & # 39; flattening & # 39; –
Better results in some parts of the country are offset by poorer results in others.
The virus continues to grow in California, the country's most populous state. The highest number of infections was reported on Wednesday with almost 13,000 new cases.
Some other states, such as Missouri in the Midwest, continue to see their daily case records broken.
According to a seven-day average of the COVID tracking project, the national graph appears to be stabilizing at around 70,000 cases per day.
The United States experienced an earlier plateau after its first high in mid-April, before rising in mid-June.
"I think the flattening suggests that some recent efforts to speed up testing, particularly masking and banning indoor gatherings such as bars and restaurants, could help," said Thomas Tsai, a professor of public health at Harvard .
"Just like in April, it is not enough to calm down – the goal is to suppress and not just to mitigate."
If the high number of cases is not reduced, this will continue to burden the hospitals excessively, make it difficult to reopen schools in the next semester and cause more preventable deaths.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, over 80 percent of all beds in intensive care units in nine states are occupied. This is considered to be dangerously high.
Other experts are more cautious about whether the current slowdown really reflects reality.
"I think it's way too early to say," said William Schaffner, professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University.
"There are a lot of people who still ignore the social distance recommendations and masks. I'm still pretty pessimistic."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)