Masked sheriff's deputies are seen Tuesday while riding a commuter train in St. Louis. Mo. Missouri is one of several states Dr. Anthony Fauci said are at an increased risk of seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 9 (UPI) -- For the second day in a row, there are fewer than 30,000 new COVID-19 cases, updated data showed Wednesday.
According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, there were 26,400 cases nationwide on Tuesday -- the lowest daily mark since the middle of June.
The updated data showed 445 new deaths Tuesday, the third straight with fewer than 500 after multiple days last week that topped 1,000.
To date, there have been 6.328 million cases in the United States and 189,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said eight states are at an increased risk of new surges in cases -- North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois.
"It's almost like whack-a-mole," he told The Washington Post Tuesday. "It's quite frustrating .... we never really get down to a very, very low baseline."
In South Dakota, researchers say the famous Sturgis motorcycle rally last month caused about 267,000 cases -- almost a fifth of all new U.S. cases over the past month.
The IZA Institute of Labor Economics said in a report cellphone data and foot traffic at restaurants and bars in and around Sturgis linked the new cases to the rally. It estimated the new cases led to $12 billion in public health costs.
Hundreds of thousands attended the popular rally, packed bars and crowded indoor events in Sturgis over a 10-day period, often without adhering to mask or distancing guidelines.
"This is enough to have paid each of the estimated 462,182 rally attendees $26,553.64 not to attend," the authors wrote.
Only 260 cases in 11 states have been officially linked to the rally by government officials.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who supported staging the Sturgis rally amid the pandemic, dismissed the report as "fiction."
"Under the guise of academic research, this report is nothing short of an attack on those who exercised their personal freedom to attend Sturgis," she said in a statement.
"Predictably, some in the media breathlessly report on this non-peer reviewed model, built on incredibly faulty assumptions that do not reflect the actual facts and data."
In Michigan, the state Supreme Court will hold oral arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit questioning Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's emergency powers. The initial hearing was initially scheduled last week but was postponed when a staffer became ill.
Justice Richard Bernstein, who is blind, called the staffer "an indispensable member of my team" who is "struggling" with COVID-19.
"Because of my blindness, I depend on him to help me review and internalize thousands of pages of material," he said.
In the case, the Republican-controlled legislature claims Whitmer has exceeded her emergency powers. Whitmer's actions under the law have been affirmed by lower courts.