As July 4 approaches, authorities try not to repeat the scenes of Memorial Day, when thousands of people from across the country gathered on beaches, bars and parties while experts warn that the crowd could lead to spikes in business along the way. At least 12 states have paused in plans to reopen in hopes of containing the spread.
In Florida, on-site alcohol consumption has been suspended in state bars.
The announcements come after a devastating week for the country, during which many states broke their new day case records and the United States also recorded a single day case record with 40,173 reported on Friday .
But these numbers may just be a snapshot of the spread of infections across the country, as a survey by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the total number of infections could be up to 24 times higher. than the one reported.
What happens next is not clear. Local and state leaders have promised to do whatever it takes to avoid a second stop. But many have stopped removing the option from the table.
And as more and more cases continue to report an increase in the number of cases, the Secretary of Health and Social Services, Alex Azar, warned on Sunday that the window of time to control the pandemic is closing quickly.
The increase will “get worse for weeks”
US governors have partially blamed their pushes on more widespread tests – but former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden warned Sunday with more tests and better-prepared hospitals, “This virus still has the above “.
The increase in cases in the south is the result of reopening too quickly, Frieden said on Fox News Sunday, and “will continue to get worse for weeks.”
And the deaths will also come, he noted in a grim prediction that coronavirus deaths will be about a month behind in cases of infection.
Here’s how the cases are progressing, according to data from Johns Hopkins University:
- 31 states are seeing an increase in the number of new cases from the previous week: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan , Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
- 15 states are stable: Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington State
- Four states are in decline: Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
States end plans to reopen
At least 12 states have now suspended or canceled their plans to reopen, hoping that this decision will slow the spread of the virus.
Over the past week, officials and heads of state have repeatedly asked Americans to stay away from crowded spaces, keep their distance and try to stay at home as much as possible.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has announced that counties preparing to enter the fourth phase of reopening – without any restrictions – will not do so at this time.
“We all want to start doing everything we love in Washington over the summer and fully open up our economy, but we are not there yet,” the governor said in a statement. “This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data. ”
In Texas and Florida – both of whom alarmed experts with a rapid increase in the number of cases – bars were ordered closed for the second time after authorities suggested they were the driving force behind the coronavirus cases.
In a similar move, California governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday closed bars in seven counties: Los Angeles, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin and Tulare.
He recommended closing them in eight other counties, including Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura.
Expert: masks can partially protect you from infection
As communities seek to progress again, another question: what about masks?
The mask requirements issued by some parts of the country have faced violent reactions from residents who claim that the warrants infringe their rights. Some business owners and law enforcement have refused to enforce mask regulations. And many governors, although strongly encouraging masks through social media posts, have not made it a requirement in public spaces.
But the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, pushed Americans on Sunday to wear masks, saying that not only does the evidence suggest that the masks “keep you from infecting others”, but that they “can also partially protect you from infection”.
The government has already raised this possibility but has not emphasized this point. According to the CDC, “cloth face covers are intended to protect other people in the event that the wearer is unknowingly infected but has no symptoms”.
Birx also encouraged young people to wear masks when venturing out, adding, “And if they interact with their parents and grandparents, they should also wear a mask because we now know how many of them are asymptomatic ”.
CNN Artemis Moshtaghian and Wes Bruer contributed to this report.