More US states step back from reopening as COVID-19 cases surge
Written by MaryGift Sunday on June 30, 2020
Moves come as Anthony Fauci blames rising infections on flouting of guidelines on physical distancing and mask-wearing.
More US states and businesses have rolled back plans to reopen their economies, citing surges in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations, as the government’s top infectious disease specialist blamed the spikes on Americans ignoring public health guidelines.
California and Texas both marked record spikes in new COVID-19 infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, as the US’s second largest city of Los Angeles reported an “alarming” one-day surge in infections.
Los Angeles has become a new epicenter in the pandemic as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge there despite California Governor Gavin Newsom’s strict orders requiring bars to close and residents to wear masks in nearly all public spaces.
“The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations signals that we, as a community, need to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said in a statement announcing the sharp rise.
“Otherwise, we are quickly moving toward overwhelming our healthcare system and seeing even more devastating illness and death,” Ferrer said.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a “hard pause” on when movie theaters, theme parks and other entertainment venues can reopen. Los Angeles County is the biggest movie theater market in the United States.
The county also said its beaches will be closed for the Independence Day weekend and fireworks displays will be banned. Statewide positive tests for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, rose by at least 7,418 in California on Monday to nearly 223,000, the biggest one-day increase since tracking began. Los Angeles County, with a population of 10 million, has recorded 100,000 cases.
COVID-19 infections in Texas rose by 6,545 on Monday to nearly 160,000, also setting a record for a one-day increase.
On Friday, Texas ordered the closure of all its recently reopened bars, but that prompted a backlash with a group of bar owners launching a lawsuit to overturn Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s order closing their businesses.
They contend Abbott does not have the authority, and they complained that other businesses, such as nail salons and tattoo studios, remain open. “Governor Abbott continues to act like a king,” said Jared Woodfill, attorney for the bar owners. “Abbott is unilaterally destroying our economy and trampling on our constitutional rights.”
In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey shut down bars, movie theatres, gyms and water parks with immediate effect. The shutdown is to last for 30 days. Ducey also ordered public schools to delay the start of classes until at least August 17. Most Arizona bars and nightclubs had opened after the governor’s stay-at-home and business closure orders were allowed to expire in mid-May.
Arizona health officials reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, the most reported in a single day in the state so far and the seventh time in the past 10 days that daily cases surpassed the 3,000 mark.
“Our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse,” Ducey said on Monday.
Since the pandemic began, 74,500 cases and 1,588 deaths stemming from the virus have been reported in Arizona.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday indoor dining will not resume on Thursday as planned and would be postponed indefinitely. In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly imposed a statewide mandate requiring the wearing of masks in public spaces, which she said was necessary to avoid another shutdown.