Several southern U.S. states reported sharp increases in COVID-19 infections, with Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia all seeing new cases rise 35% or more in the week ended May 31 compared with the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis.
South Carolina health officials said they expected more increases in the future due to a lack of social distancing and mask wearing at protests triggered by the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.
"If people don't follow current recommendations for social distancing and avoiding crowds of any kind, we can anticipate seeing increased numbers," the South Carolina health department said in a statement to Reuters.
South Carolina said the recent rise in its new cases, which have been going up for three weeks, were in part due to the completion of testing in the state's 194 nursing homes.
Alabama’s health department attributed the state's steady increase in cases since early May to community transmission, clusters of outbreaks, and more testing. Virginia officials were not immediately available for comment.