Oil prices fell on Tuesday, erasing earlier gains, on concerns that the surge in coronavirus cases in the United States, the world’s biggest oil user, will limit a recovery in fuel demand. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 17 cents, or 0.4%, to $40.46 a barrel at 0340 GMT, after earlier rising to as high as $40.79. Brent crude futures declined by 19 cents, or 0.4%, to $42.91, after hitting an intraday high of $43.19. With 16 US states reporting record increases in new COVID-19 case in the first five days of July, according to a Reuters tally, there is mounting concern that public health measures to limit the virus spread will curb fuel demand. Florida is re-introducing some limits on economic reopenings to grapple with rising cases. California and Texas, two of the most populous and economically crucial US states, are also reporting high infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests conducted over the past week. “The potential for demand destruction as lockdown re-instatement looks more likely are combining with concerns about OPEC+ discipline to weigh on oil prices,” said CMC Markets’s Chief Market Strategist Michael McCarthy in Sydney in an email.