Washington(ANN)-The United States has confirmed a daily record of nearly 40,000 new coronavirus cases, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Johns Hopkins public database reported America’s largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

The previous one-day record occurred on April 24, when about 36,000 were confirmed to have contracted the virus.

The highest numbers were in Florida, Texas and California states. The surge in infections has prompted the three states to halt their reopening plans.

Other American states have also reported an increase in the number of new infections over the past week.

The US is the world’s hardest-hit country by the pandemic. It has so far confirmed over 2.4 million cases.

According to Johns Hopkins, 2.4 million Americans have contracted the virus, and more than 124,000 have died after contracting it.

US cases ‘may have topped 20 million’

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), however, has said the real number could be ten times higher than the reported figure.

According to the latest estimate by CDC officials, at least 20 million people in the US may already have been infected with COVID-19.

“Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections,” CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield told reporters.

He added that this was because testing was restricted to people with symptoms and asymptomatic carriers were not tested.

“We probably recognized about 10% of the outbreak by the methods that we use to diagnosis between the March, April and May,” he said.

Dr. Redfield said that up to 8 percent of the American population had been exposed to the coronavirus and urged citizens to keep social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands.

“As we go into the fall, in the winter, these are going to be really, really important defense mechanisms,” he said.

Sixteen NBA players test positive for coronavirus

Meanwhile, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association said that 16 players tested positive for coronavirus.

The 16 players were part of a pool of 302 tested. Mandatory tests done in preparation for the restart of the season will continue for all 22 teams that will be participating in the restart at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, next month.

According to the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, “any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician.”