California, New Mexico and Oregon put new restrictions on indoor activities
Prompted by a dramatic surge in cases across the nation and within their borders, three states on Monday reinstated restrictions that were put in place early in the coronavirus pandemic.
At least 27 states have put a hold on reopening businesses or reimposed measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
Citing rising numbers, the governors of California and New Mexico — having already taken some steps — reimposed restrictions on dining. In Oregon, where the number of cases has recently risen, the governor expanded rules on face coverings to include outdoor gatherings where social distance cannot be maintained.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom cited increases in the rate of positive cases and instances of community transmission when he ordered all counties to close many indoor activities.
Newsom said restaurant dining rooms, indoor wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, and museums should close. Those that can should offer outdoor areas of service. Bars must close all operations.
]”We’re seeing an increase in the spread of the virus,” the governor said. “That’s why it’s incumbent upon all us to recognize soberly that Covid-19 is not going away any time soon.”
Thirty of the 58 counties that are on the state’s monitoring list will need to close fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, hair salons and barbershops, and indoor malls under the new order.
The California Department of Public Health reported 8,358 new cases and 23 new deaths on Monday. There are a total of 329,162 cases and 7,040 deaths in the state.
Hospitalizations for Covid-19 have increased by 28% over a two-week period, according to the governor.
California is one of almost three dozen states in which cases are rising, and it’s not the only one rolling back measures meant to combat coronavirus.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham put new restrictions on indoor seating at restaurants and breweries, a statement from her office said. Indoor dining at restaurants had been allowed with limits since June 1 but that is now prohibited. Breweries were permitted to have customers inside as of June 15.
The facilities are allowed to seat people outside at 50% of their capacity.
In the past two weeks, the state has seen 3,049 new positive cases of Covid-19, representing 20.2% of the total positive cases statewide over the course of the pandemic, according to the governor’s office.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced indoor gatherings such as birthday or dinner parties will be limited to 10 or fewer people. Faith-based events, gyms and restaurants are on the exempt list under the governor’s order.
“Today I am sounding the alarm: we are at risk of COVID-19 getting out of control in Oregon,” she tweeted. “Each of us needs to take immediate action to slow the spread of this disease.”
Florida has more than 27,000 new cases in two days
Florida health officials reported Sunday a staggering record of new cases in a single day:15,300. If Florida were a country, it would be the fourth highest in the world in reporting new cases. The state would rank 10th in the list of nations with the most cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University data.
The state added at least 12,343 cases since Sunday, according to the Florida Department of Health.
At least 35 states are seeing a rise in new cases compared to the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The US has recorded more than 3.3 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, meaning nearly 1 out of every 100 Americans has tested positive for Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 135,524 Americans have died.
Across the world, 13 million people have tested positive for the virus.
Local and state leaders in the US have said in recent weeks new cases are largely driven by Americans who have opted to resume gatherings and outings to bars. In many states, the average age of new cases has shifted downward, with more young people testing positive than ever before since the start of the pandemic.
The rising US numbers could just be the tip of the iceberg, as experts have often highlighted infections could be around 10 times higher than what is reported, as many go untraced.
To blunt the rise in cases, many states now have some type of mask requirement order in place.
But precautions have been met with heavy backlash from many officials and residents and some governors have stayed away from statewide mask orders, including Florida.
People need to ‘follow the rules’
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said on CNN’s “New Day” that the numbers are “out of control.”
Americans need to follow the rules on social distancing and wearing masks, which are required for citizens in public in the city of Miami, the mayor said.
“If they don’t follow the rules, things are going to continue the way they are going,” he said.
In Atlanta, where the mayor attempted to require citizens to wear masks and revert the city back to its first phase of reopening to combat a rise in cases, Gov. Brian Kemp slammed the decision saying it was “both non-binding and legally unenforceable.”
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on CNN that Kemp had not criticized other cities in Georgia for issuing mask mandates.
“I think that it’s unfortunate that when we know the science says wearing a mask is one of the easiest ways to stop the spread, that we had the leader to our state taking exception with it,” she said.
Miami’s Suarez said officials need to have a consistent message at the local, state and national levels.
“A lot of the decisions have been pushed down to local officials that probably should have been done at the federal and state levels,” he said.
“There’s a total disconnect between what is happening and being said out of Washington and even Tallahassee and what is happening in some of these communities right here,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the country could turn the rise of cases around in “two (to) three weeks.” But that is based on whether “we can get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings, practicing at least 6 feet of social distancing, doing the things we know are effective,” Adams said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The surge in cases comes as the White House is making a concerted effort to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, as he becomes increasingly vocal about his concerns over reopening the country during the national surge in coronavirus cases.
The moves to undercut Fauci come just days after he gave an unvarnished look at his relationship with President Donald Trump, including that they have not spoken in weeks.
During a webinar with the Stanford School of Medicine, Fauci said the pandemic is “clearly the most challenging” public health crisis he’s ever dealt with, including HIV, the Ebola virus, anthrax and Zika virus.
“We haven’t even begun to see the end of it yet,” Fauci said of the novel coronavirus.