Wednesday 10/28/20

US states backtrack on reopening as coronavirus cases soar

The country reported some 44,800 new infections Tuesday. Donald Trump told Fox Business he had worn a mask in the past and liked the way he looked.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a a press conference to comment on the latest updates regarding coronavirus and the black live matters protests. Photo: Vanessa Carvalho/ZUMA Wire/dpa
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a a press conference. Photo: Vanessa Carvalho/dpa.

Some US states on Wednesday halted reopening amid a surge of coronavirus infections, with California even reinstating some restrictions to stem the virus' spread.

California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars and indoor dining at restaurants to close in 19 counties, home to around 70% of the state's population.

Indoor operations in wineries, tasting rooms, zoos, museums and cardrooms will also be halted in those counties, including Los Angeles.

"The spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning," Newsom told a press conference, as the nation's most populous state reported some 6,000 new daily infections.

Parking lots at some state beaches will be closed for the Fourth of July weekend, Newsom said, echoing health officials' pleas for revellers to avoid crowds.

Michigan also mandated the closure of bars in parts of the state, following similar orders in Arizona, Florida and Texas, which moved to reopen quickly and are now seeing a steep increase in infections.

Arizona reported a record number of coronavirus-related deaths and some 4,900 new cases on Wednesday, by far its biggest increase in a single day, as Vice President Mike Pence travelled there to discuss the crisis.

Some counties in Florida, which recorded more than 6,500 daily new cases, announced that beaches would be closed ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

South and west

As infections rise in the south and west of the country, states that were initially hit hard, especially in the north-east, are concerned over a reversal of their hard-won gains against the virus.

New York City, which was once the epicentre of the outbreak but has seen a significant drop in infections, will not allow restaurants to resume indoor dining next week as planned, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The city enters its third phase of reopening on Monday, which was meant to see restaurants allowed to serve patrons indoors, but will now just include the restarting of beauty salons and more outdoor recreation.

"Indoors is the problem more and more," de Blasio told a press conference, adding that "the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse."

Local officials are increasingly concerned about people travelling to New York from states seeing spikes. Visitors from 16 states are required to quarantine when they enter New York.

Trump for masks

Neighbouring New Jersey has made similar moves, halting a restart of indoor dining that was to go into effect on Thursday.

The north-eastern state of Pennsylvania joined a growing list of states mandating that face masks be worn in public.

US President Donald Trump said he was "all for masks" and that he would wear one in public in certain circumstances, although he has refused to do so for months, drawing criticism for politicizing the issue.

Trump told Fox Business he had worn worn a mask in the past and liked the way he looked, but he didn't believe making masks mandatory across the country was necessary.

The United States saw some 44,800 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The country could reach 100,000 daily cases if it is unable to control its outbreak, Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, told a Tuesday Senate hearing.