Health

U.S. States Are Halting Reopening Plans As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Meanwhile coronavirus cases have exceeded 10 million globally, which includes over 500,000 deaths.

Reuters/Sergio Flores — People protest against mandates to wear masks amid the coronavirus outbreak in Austin, Texas, June 28

As new daily coronavirus cases reach record highs in the U.S., state officials are walking back their reopening plans, including those that allow people to go to bars.

Coronavirus cases have exceeded 10 million globally, including over 500,000 deaths, per the Johns Hopkins University tracker – a morbid milestone that comes just before the six-month anniversary of the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

“This is a moment for all of us to reflect on the progress we have made and the lessons we have learned, and to recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to save lives,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a Monday media briefing

Last week, the U.S. broke multiple new records for single-day increases in coronavirus cases, with significant spikes in California, Texas, and Florida. The country’s three most populous U.S. states, have all reported record-high numbers of single-day cases in the last few weeks. 

Following the case spike across the U.S., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said on Monday that he may adjust the city’s third phase of reopening for New York City as it relates to indoor dining. Phase 3 of the New York’s reopening is set to start on July 6. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) also said on Monday that he would postpone allowing indoor dining in the state. Both states New York and New Jersey have the highest and third-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, respectively, but have seen a dip in new cases in recent weeks. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Sunday ordered bars in several counties, including Los Angeles County, to close due to the rising spread of coronavirus cases in the state.

California reported a record high of more than 7,100 new cases June 23. LA County currently has the highest number of hospitalizations due to coronavirus with 1,783 patients as of Monday. 

In response to the spike in cases, Newsom last week issued a proclamation of a budget emergency, which would allow the state to use its rainy day fund for additional resources to address the coronavirus crisis. 

Earlier this month, California saw much fewer cases compared to other populous states including New York and New Jersey, and Newsom had issued a reopening plan allowing some schools, day camps, gyms, and bars to reopen under certain circumstances.

Texas also paused its reopening plan last week, after the state reported a spike in new cases. 

“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement on June 25. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

Abbott had allowed the state to begin an early phased reopening plan on May 1.

Florida suspended on-premise alcohol consumption last week, after bars had been allowed to open June 5 at half capacity. 

Beaches in Miami-Dade County will also be closed on the weekend of July 4 because of coronavirus concerns.