By Michelle R. Smith and Frances D’Emilio
The Associated Press

The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases per day in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 40,000 June 26 — eclipsing the mark set during one of the deadliest stretches in late April — in a resurgence that has led some governors to backtrack or at least pause the reopening of their states.

While the increase is believed to reflect, in part, greatly expanded testing, experts say there is ample evidence the virus is making a comeback, including rising deaths and hospitalizations in parts of the country, especially in the South and West. Arizona, Texas, Florida and Arkansas are among the states that have been hit hard.

The number of confirmed new infections soared past the previous high set on April 24 of 36,400, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. are down to around 600 per day, compared with about 2,200 in mid-April. Some experts have expressed doubt that deaths will return to that level, in part because of advances in treatment and prevention but also because a large share of the new infections are in younger adults, who are more likely than older ones to survive.

The virus is blamed for 124,000 deaths in the U.S. and 2.4 million confirmed infections nationwide, by Johns Hopkins’ count. But U.S. health officials said the true number of Americans infected is about 20 million, or almost 10 times higher. Worldwide, the virus has claimed close to a half-million lives, according to Johns Hopkins.

In the U.S., Arizona reported over 3,000 additional infections reported June 25, the fourth day in a week with an increase over that mark. The state postponed further efforts to reopen.

The numbers “continue to go in the wrong direction,” said Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said.

Similarly, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas put off lifting any more restrictions June 25 and re-imposed a ban on elective surgeries in some places to preserve hospital space after the number of patients statewide more than doubled in two weeks. And Nevada’s governor ordered the wearing of face masks in public, Las Vegas casinos included.

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D’Emelio reported from Rome. Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.