New Jersey’s Phil Murphy said people in the three states had been “through hell and back” and did not want “another round” of virus infections.
Some southern and western states have been reporting record numbers of cases. The University of Washington predicts 180,000 US deaths by October – or 146,000 if 95% of Americans wear masks. So far, the US has recorded more than 2.3 million cases of the virus and more than 121,000 deaths.
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On Tuesday America’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci told lawmakers there was “a disturbing surge of infection” and “increased community spread” in many southern and western states.
He told Americans to take social distancing measures, saying: “Plan A, don’t go in a crowd. Plan B, if you do, make sure you wear a mask.”
Which states are subject to the quarantine? Currently, those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, the governor of New York state Andrew Cuomo told reporters.
People coming from those states – including returning New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents – will be asked to quarantine upon arrival for 14 days. Anyone found breaking the quarantine could face fines of $1,000 (£800) rising to $5,000 for repeated violations, Mr Cuomo said. He added that US states would be added or taken off the quarantine list depending on the number of new cases per 100,000 people or the rate of positive tests.
“This is a smart thing to do,” New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy said. “We have taken our people, the three of us from these three states, through hell and back, and the last thing we need to do right now is subject our folks to another round.”
The state of Washington had initially been included in the list due to a data reporting error – but this was later corrected, Mr Cuomo’s press secretary Caitlin Girouard said. Florida also reported a daily record of 5,508 new infections. It brings Florida’s total number of confirmed infections to 109,014, with 3,281 deaths. In the absence of a state-wide mask requirement, several cities and towns have issued their own orders mandating masks in public.
Arizona on Wednesday reported 1,795 new infections, down from the record 3,600 new infections on Tuesday, when President Trump held a campaign rally in the city of Phoenix. At the event Mr Trump – who was not wearing a mask – insisted that the coronavirus “plague” was “going away” and again referred to the virus as the “kung flu”, which the White House denies is a racist term.
Arizona officials warn that over 80% of hospital beds are currently being used, and that the healthcare system may be overrun in the coming days or weeks. Texas on Wednesday also reported a new record daily number of 5,551 confirmed cases, with Governor Greg Abbott warning that the state was facing a “massive outbreak” and new restrictions may be needed in some areas.
Texas has seen increasing numbers of people admitted to hospital and a children’s hospital in Houston has begun admitting adult virus patients. Texas Children’s Hospital urged the public to “take responsible actions – practice appropriate social distancing, wear a mask or face covering anytime you leave your home”.
Both Texas and Arizona were among those states that removed coronavirus restrictions early. Texas has temporarily revoked alcohol licenses from several businesses that were breaking social distancing rules.
On Tuesday the governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, ordered all residents to wear face masks in public after confirmed infections rose by more than a third the previous week. “This is about saving lives. It’s about reopening our businesses. And it’s about showing respect and care for one another,” Mr Inslee said.