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U.S. Coronavirus: Some states revert to previous restrictions in hopes of slowing down spikes in coronavirus cases

As July 4th approaches, officials are trying not to repeat Memorial Day scenes when thousands of people across the country flock to beaches, bars and parties as experts warn that crowds could spike in cases along the road. At least 12 states have paused their reopening plans hoping to curb the spread.
The announcements come after a devastating week for the country, during which many states broke their records for new cases in one day and the United States also recorded a one-day case record with 40,173 reported on Friday.

But these numbers can only take a look at how widespread infections are across the country, as a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the total number of infections could be up to 24 times higher than what reported.

What happens next is unclear. Local and state leaders have promised that they will do whatever it takes to avoid a second blockade. But many have stopped taking the option off the table.

And while other cases continue to report an increase in cases, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar warned Sunday that the time window for keeping an eye on the pandemic is rapidly closing.

The increase “will get worse for weeks”

Governors in the United States partially attributed their impulses to more popular tests – but the former director of the CDC, dr. Tom Frieden, also warned Sunday with more tests and better prepared hospitals, “this virus still has the upper hand.”

The increase in cases across the South is the result of too rapid reopening, Frieden said on Fox News Sunday, and “will continue to get worse for weeks.”

And deaths will also come, he noted in a gloomy prediction that coronavirus deaths will lag behind infection cases for about a month.

Here’s how the cases are going, according to data from Johns Hopkins University:

  • 31 states are experiencing an increase in 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 stabilizing: Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington
  • Four states are seeing a decline: Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

States stop reopening plans

At least 12 states have now paused or reinstated plans to reopen, hoping that the move will slow down the further spread of the virus. Last week, officials and heads of state repeatedly called on 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 that were preparing to enter the fourth phase of reopening – basically without restrictions – will not do so yet.

The beaches of Miami and Fort Lauderdale close for coronavirus worries on July 4th
“We all want to go back to doing everything we love in Washington over the summer and fully open up our economy, but we haven’t arrived yet,” said the governor in a statement. “This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on data.”

In Texas and Florida – both of which raised alarm among experts with a rapid increase in cases – the bars were closed for the second time after officials suggested they were a driving force behind coronavirus cases.

In a similar move, California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday ordered the closing of 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, Stanislao and Ventura.

Expert: masks can partially protect you from infection

As communities now face again how to move forward, another question: what about masks?

The requirements for masks issued by some parts of the country have suffered a violent backlash from residents who claim that the mandates violate their rights. Some entrepreneurs and law enforcement officers refused to apply the masking rules. And many governors, despite strongly encouraging masks through social media posts, have not made them a requirement in public spaces.

Why the guide to masks has changed so much - and how wearing masks can protect the economy

But on Sunday, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, dr. Deborah Birx pushed Americans to wear masks, saying that not only evidence suggests that the masks “protect you from other infected”, but “they may also partially protect you from infection.”

The government mentioned the possibility earlier, but did not make it a point of emphasis. The CDC states that “cloth face coverings are intended to protect other people in the event that the wearer is unknowingly infected but exhibits no symptoms.”

Birx also encouraged young people to wear masks when they venture 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.”

Artemis Moshtaghian and CNN’s Wes Bruer contributed to this report.

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