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U.S. coronavirus deaths rose by over 25,000 in July and cases doubled in 19 states during the month, according to a Reuters tally. Reuters

Five U.S. states reported record increases in deaths on Friday, including Florida, which has in recent weeks been a hot spot of COVID-19 cases, and California, which became the first U.S. state to have over half a million cases.

Florida is among at least 18 states that saw cases more than double in July, when almost 25,000 people in the United States died of COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Friday predicted that deaths would rise in the coming weeks, forecasting between 168,000 and 182,000 total fatalities by August 22. The CDC predicting deaths will rise fastest in Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Tennessee and Washington state.

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A top White House pandemic advisor, Dr. Deborah Birx, has said the virus appeared to be shifting away from Sunbelt states, including Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, and moving into the Midwest.

The CDC also released a study that said COVID-19 had spread to nearly half the staff and campers at a sleep-away camp in Georgia over a week and a half ago.

According to the CDC the investigation demonstrated “that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, might play an important role in transmission.”

Meanwhile, the race for a vaccine marches on.

The Trump administration said on Friday that two major drug companies will supply the U.S. government with 100 million doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.

The agreement calls for the U.S. government to pay French drug maker Sanofi and British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline up to $2.1 billion to supply it with enough vaccines for 50 million people, with the option to buy another 500 million doses.

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