US leaders have struggled to enforce social gathering rules and mask mandates as residents push for a return to normal life amid a rampant spread of coronavirus. But while people may be tired of the pandemic, there’s still a long way to go, one world health official said Monday.

“We need to remain focused. We need to remain strong,” the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, said.

“We need to accept that this is challenging, but use these challenges to really put it towards something positive and fight this pandemic together.”

New restrictions were put in place by many US states after parts of the country began reopening and — several weeks later — saw a spike in cases.

In May, when most states first began lifting restrictions and images of crowded bars and parties emerged, experts warned that without social distancing and face coverings, there would likely come a surge. Months since those first reopenings, states across the South are reporting thousands of new cases each day and as some seem to near a peak of cases, parts of the Midwest are now raising alarm.

The spread of the virus is more widespread than ever before, prompting White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx to say over the weekend the US has entered a “new phase” of the pandemic.

Rising death toll: Across the country, more than 4.7 million have been infected since the start of the pandemic, and at least 155,469 have died. Health officials project there will be thousands more deaths in the coming weeks.

At least 13 states have reported more than 100,000 coronavirus infections, and four of them — California, Florida, Texas and New York — have recorded more than 400,000.

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