Coronavirus: Health officials urge Americans to stay at home on 4 July as cases surge

'We don’t want any more closures, but our numbers are going through the roof'

Louise Hall
Thursday 02 July 2020 00:44 BST
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Americans are being urged by health officials to cancel any big celebrations on 4 July and stay at home as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country.

The US set a daily record for the fourth time in a week on Tuesday with more than 48,000 new cases recorded in one day, according to The New York Times. At least 30 states saw an incremental increase in cases.

“The safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home,” the Oregon Health Authority said.

California has been at the forefront of the infection spike over the last week having surpassed 200,000 known infections, causing governor Gavin Newsom to rescind re-openings in some regions.

Ahead of the public holiday this weekend the public health department has ordered beaches closed and fireworks shows cancelled in Los Angeles County, which has seen 10,000 new cases since Friday, The New York Times reported.

“We don’t want any more closures, but our numbers are going through the roof,” Dr Cameron Kaiser, the public health officer in Riverside County, California told the outlet.

“Please don’t mix households, even if you think everyone is healthy, and instead celebrate the holiday with the people you live with,” Dr Kaiser said. “We started seeing more and more cases after Memorial Day, and we can’t afford another jump after the Fourth of July.”

Florida and Texas have also been forced to scale back their re-openings after facing an incremental increase in cases.

Florida announced on Friday that all of its bars must close immediately while Texas governor Greg Abbott also announced the re-closure of its bars in its most drastic move in the backtrack of its re-opening.

Nebraskans have been warned to keep a guest list of anyone attending events at Fourth of July celebrations in preparation for track and trace of any localised outbreaks, The New York Times reported.

At least 80 per cent of the country's firework displays in cities and towns across the US have been cancelled due to the pandemic, according to a report by the newspaper.

New York City has also announced that it will pause its re-opening amid fear that the severe spike in cases in states in the South and the West could lead back to the city, which became known as the epicentre of the virus at the beginning of the outbreak in the US.

“We see a lot of problems and we particularly see problems revolving around people going back to bars and restaurants indoors, and indoors is the problem more and more,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his daily virus briefing on Wednesday.

After stating he had originally hoped that the city could go ahead with this next phase of re-opening he added: "But the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time.”

However, fears over the spread of infection are not shared by all officials across the country.

South Dakota has confirmed that its Independence Day Mount Rushmore fireworks celebration will not only go ahead on 3 July with around 7,500 participants but that attendees will not be required to wear masks or social distance.

“In South Dakota we’ve told people to focus on personal responsibility, every one of them has the opportunity to make a decision that they’re comfortable with,” governor Kristi Noem said.

“We will have a large event on 3 July. We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one. But we won’t be social distancing.”

CDC Director Robert Redfield warned on Thursday that the scale of the outbreak across the country is likely far greater than has been recorded.

“This virus causes so much asymptomatic infection,” Dr Redfield said.“We probably recognised about 10 per cent of the outbreak.

“This outbreak is not over. This pandemic is not over. The most powerful tool that we have, powerful weapon, is social distancing,” he added. “We have responsibility to practise the social mitigation strategies to protect the vulnerable, to protect the elderly.”

The US remains the country with the highest number of coronavirus infections with over 2.6 million, almost double the number of Brazil, the country immediately behind.

Worldwide infections of the novel respiratory disease have reached over 10.5 million, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.

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