(Reuters) – California on Sunday ordered some bars closed as that state and a dozen others face the worst increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
People prepare to go tube on the Salt River amid the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-1
The order of Governor Gavin Newsom is the first major setback in efforts to reopen California’s economy. Bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles, must close and those in eight other counties are strongly recommended to close doors.
In Arizona, another state with a severe outbreak, the temperature is expected to rise above 100 Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) on Sunday along the Salt River east of Phoenix. On Saturday, dozens of people climbed into inflatable air chambers with coolers and went into the water to escape the heat. Very few wore masks.
Texas shut down its piping and rafting activities on Friday and some Florida beaches are closing again ahead of the July 4th vacation next weekend to try to curb the rising blast in those states.
The wave of COVID-19 cases was most pronounced in a handful of southern and western states that reopened earlier and more aggressively, despite warnings from health officials to wait to see a steady decline in cases.
For a third consecutive day on Saturday, the number of confirmed cases in the United States has increased by over 40,000, one of the largest waves in the world. In Arizona, cases have risen by 267% so far in June and rose by a record 3,857 cases on Sunday, the eighth record hike this month.
Even in states where cases have been falling for weeks, outbreaks are occurring. A bar in East Lansing, Michigan has been linked to more than 85 cases, according to the Ingham County health department. That number is likely to increase, officials warn.
Just a day later, he expressed a note of optimism about the response of the United States to the pandemic and said that the country was in “a much better place”, Vice President Mike Pence canceled events to campaign for the re-election of the Republican President. Donald Trump in Florida and Arizona because of the outbreak, campaign officials said on Saturday.
In an interview with CBS, Pence said he was sure there was enough healthcare supplies and capacity to handle the spike in cases.
He also defended Trump’s refusal to ask Americans directly to wear masks or to wear one in public, although Texas Governor Greg Abbott and others say that widespread use of masks will be key to reopening the economy.
“We believe people should wear masks where social removal is not possible, wherever indicated by state or local authorities,” Pence told CBS.
United States House Democrat spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi criticized the administration’s response to the pandemic that killed over 125,000 Americans. Sunday told ABC News that the mandate for the use of masks across the country was long overdue.
Global coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters count, marking a milestone in the spread of respiratory disease that has so far killed nearly half a million people in seven months.
(GRAPHIC: Monitoring of the new coronavirus in the United States – here)
Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington, Maria Caspani in New York and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento; Written by Lisa Shumakmer; Curated by Daniel Wallis