New York and New Jersey, the first hot spots of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, are getting tough on parties, anti-masks and out-of-town visitors who increase the risk of a resurgence.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy reduced the indoor gathering limit by 75%, to 25 people, after a string of house parties led to nearly 100 cases. The state’s virus transmission rate, a key indicator of the spread, has climbed to its highest level since early April.
Inspectors in New York City issued 106 restaurant and bar violations over the weekend for failing to follow containment orders. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said rallies ignoring social distancing rules – including a party boat with 170 guests on board cruising around Manhattan and a rave that drew hundreds under the Kosciuszko Bridge in Brooklyn – will drive the virus to a boomerang across the country.
While the United States reported an increase in new cases of less than 1%, below the 1.4% average last week, the states that suffered the most in March and April saw reasons for be alarmed. They have joined Connecticut to force visitors from nearly three dozen states considered problem areas to self-quarantine, and are taking a cautious approach as back-to-school approaches.
“This is Florida, this is Texas, this is the Midwest, this is California,” oh it’s back to New Jersey “is on the rise,” oh it’s back to Massachusetts “Is on the rise,” Cuomo said Monday. “It will continue, this ricochet across the country, because that’s what viruses do.”
In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner told police to start issuing warnings and citations for anyone not wearing a mask.
“There are too many street parties, house parties, corner zydecos, backyard parties, and more in our city, especially when individuals are not wearing masks,” Turner said in apost on Twitter Monday.
Georgia, one of the first states to reopen, was successful as cases did not start to increase as people ventured further. But on Sunday, a state report showed 235 new infections per 100,000 people last week, while the national average is 137 per 100,000 people.
“Georgia continues to experience a high plateau in the incidence of cases and has seen an increase in test positivity over the past week,” according to the report.
Some states reported positive indicators on Monday, although weekend delays could skew the data. Arizona has registered 1,030 new cases, the lowest since late June, although its positivity rate – the percentage of people tested who turn out to have the virus – remains extremely high at 12.9% statewide.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signaled the state could turn a corner after a wave of infections in July, with the seven-day average of new cases dropping 21% from last week. The seven-day average positivity rate rose to 6.1% from a peak of 8% at the end of last month.
“It’s encouraging,” Newsom said in a briefing Monday. “At the same time, we can quickly find ourselves where we were just a few weeks ago, a month ago, with significant increases, if we don’t maintain our vigilance.
Another hotspot, Florida, reported a drop in its positivity rate to 9.1% on Sunday, the lowest since late June. However, state-run test sites were closed for several days as authorities prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias.
Dealing with hurricanes during the pandemic will be a particular challenge as the season approaches new records for the number of named storms this start of the year.Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appeared with President Donald Trump in a briefing on the matter on Friday. He said concern over the spread of the virus in storm shelters that cannot allow social distancing could sometimes lead authorities to opt for evacuation orders in favor of shelter in place.
While Isaias had weakened by hitting Florida this weekend, the winds are expected to increase in speed to become a Category 1 hurricane. It is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas, where they have prepared emergency shelters if any. evacuations are necessary. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said anyone fleeing the storm and going to a shelter would be screened for symptoms of Covid-19, and anyone who tested positive would be sent to another location for be isolated and receive treatment.
Surge warnings were issued via New York. Storm barriers and sandbags have been deployed, particularly in the Wall Street area, to defend against rising waters, with the worst rain and wind in that area expected on Tuesday.
The United States passed 155,000 deaths and cases reached 4.69 million on Monday. Together, California, Florida, Texas and New York account for about 40% of cases nationwide.
If the numbers don’t go down nationally, “we’re going to have a really bad situation in the fall,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an online interview with the Journal of theAmerican Medical Association.
“When you go inside and you get the flu complication, that’s something we’re going to have to deal with,” Fauci said.
Back to school
Decisions on how to get students back to school safely are also looming. In Pennsylvania, some schools may need to reconsider fall sports, Governor Tom Wolf said on Monday. The state peaked in early April with around 2,000 cases in one day. It fell below 400 daily cases in June, then topped 1,000 times in July.
The two largest school districts in the country are New York and Los Angeles, respectively. In New York, a decision will be made this week on resuming in-person classes. The Los Angeles Teachers Union has reached an agreement with the district for virtual learning, allowing but not requiring teachers to work from their classrooms.
Back in New Jersey, Murphy said New Jersey’s 1.37 million students would be required to wear masks unless disability or health conditions make it impossible. He said it was crucial for the state’s transmission rate to drop below 1, an indicator that the infection is spreading. While it’s understandable that people want to resume pre-pandemic activities and go out and socialize, now is not the time, he said.
“There’s this ‘I’m crazy as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore’ attitude” after months of restrictions, he said. “It’s human nature, so as the clock is ticking people have started to fall off the wagon a bit.”
– With the help of Ayshatu Diallo and David R Baker