Health experts are increasingly frustrated as coronavirus cases continue to surge in areas where the disease was once scarce. There is concern that the number of new cases will only rise further as people flock to beaches and parks for the holiday weekend.
Experts have blamed the spike on some states reopening too early, as well as people defying health guidelines.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist, said the U.S. is “heading a million miles an hour in the wrong direction.”
Record numbers for new U.S. cases in a single day were set on Wednesday, Thursday and again Friday, when more than 57,000 new cases were reported — showing that the pandemic is so far winning in the country’s battle against it.
“It’s absolutely the saddest thing, the most unnecessary situation that we’re finding ourselves in and it’s behaviorally driven,” Marty said.
The consequences of the public not being vigilant can be deadly, CBS News Medical Contributor Dr. Jon LaPook said.
“Do we really have to say ‘hashtag, don’t kill grandma?’ People have to realize there are consequences to getting infected and spreading it to people who are vulnerable. They can die,” LaPook said.
To avoid an uptick, all beaches in California are closed, upending tradition for the state’s millions of people who normally celebrate Fourth of July on the sand. Governor Gavin Newsom has said the closure is an effort to control the rising COVID-19 infection rates there.
In New York — once the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, but now one of the few parts of the country showing low infection rates — beaches are open, but masks are still required wearing. Thousands are expected to pack New York City’s Rockaway Beach this weekend, but when they do, city workers will be here reminding them that masks are required on the sand and the boardwalk.
Masks are now required in many places. In Santa Monica, California, you can now be ticketed if you’re not wearing one.
The city of Chicago has joined several areas, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, that require visitors from “hot spot” states, like California or Florida, to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
“We’re going to do everything that we can to keep the public safe,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this week.
COVID-19 cases are surging in dozens of states across the country, bringing the total number to more than 2.79 million, and the death toll to more than 129,000.
Cases in 37 states have risen since the economy started to reopen. In Arizona, 50 phoenix firefighters tested positive, another 40 are in quarantine.
In Florida, a state that at first resisted safety measures, 10,000 new cases were recorded on Thursday alone. Now, with some Florida hospitals pushing the limits to care for patients, Miami-Dade County put in a 10 p.m. to sunrise curfew until further notice, and the county’s popular beaches will be closed over the holiday weekend.
In Malibu, California, where beaches will also be closed, Mayor Karen Farrer said, “we all wish we could have the beaches open… (it’s) just not the right thing to do.”
Farrer is keeping an eye on surfers after the governor ordered most Southern California beaches closed again. Since they reopened three weeks ago, there has been a surge in cases — including some lifeguards. Beaches have also closed in Galveston, Texas, as officials feared crowds would pour in from Houston, where one out of four people have tested positive.
Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County’s local health authority, said they are primarily seeing a surge in young people, “who really are not paying any regard to the risk of this.”