July 28 (UPI) -- Florida reported its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll to date on Tuesday as the United States' top infectious diseases expert warned Midwest states with rising positivity rates against easing restrictions too much too soon.
The Florida Department on Health said 186 patients died Monday, seven deaths higher than the state's previous record mark. The state also reported another 9,000 cases and now has seen a total of 442,000.
Nationally, there have been 4.307 million cases since the start of the pandemic and 148,300 deaths, according to updated figures Tuesday from researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
For the sixth time in seven days on Monday, U.S. deaths topped 1,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday and urged caution for some Midwest states that are determining whether to further relax restrictions.
While states in the South and West are showing some signs of leveling off, positivity rates are rising in parts of the Midwest like Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky -- which Fauci called a "surefire sign that you've got to be really careful."
Fauci said following federal guidelines is an important step in preventing more outbreaks.
"I think we can prevent the surges that we've seen in the southern states, because we just can't afford, yet again, another surge," he said.
Fauci reiterated "cautious optimism" about having a COVID-19 vaccine by late fall or early winter. Moderna, which has an agreement with the government to distribute its developed vaccine, said Monday it's begun stage three of its clinical trial.
That trial, Fauci said, "will give us the answer."
"Yes, I am cautiously optimistic that ... we will have an answer, and I believe it will be positive."
In Southern California, Los Angeles County health officials reported 2,000 new cases Monday. In Northern California, more than a dozen demonstrators were arrested and charged with trespassing after chaining themselves to a fence outside Gov. Gavin Newsom's home in Sacramento. The activists were calling for the release of some prisoners at risk of picking up the virus.
California Highway Patrol officers hauled them away in handcuffs after a two-hour demonstration.
The protest was led by the California Liberation Collective, which said conditions in California prisons --- especially San Quentin, near San Francisco -- are now dangerous places due to the pandemic.
Nineteen inmates at San Quentin have died of COVID-19, including one who died Sunday.