US states reimpose virus measures as cases spike
Tables for outdoor dining are set up outside a restaurant in the Little Italy neighborhood on June 24, 2020 in New York City. New York businesses opened their doors to returning waves of workers June 22 as the city that was once the epicenter of the global pandemic marked an important milestone in its return to normalcy, even as other US states were seeing an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases.
AFP/Angela Weiss
US states reimpose virus measures as cases spike
Leila Macor (Agence France-Presse) - June 25, 2020 - 8:11am

MIAMI, United States — With coronavirus cases surging across the US South and West, officials are once again imposing tough measures, from stay-at-home advice in worst-hit states to quarantines to protect recovering areas like New York.

Nearly four months after the United States reported its first death from COVID-19, the nation faces a deepening health crisis as a wave of infections hits young Americans and experts issue new acute warnings.

The world's largest economy is the country hardest hit by the pandemic, with a mounting death toll of over 121,000 dead.

Some officials — including the Texas governor — who loosened restrictions on business, dining, public gatherings and tourism, are now urging residents to again stay home.

Three northeastern states that made progress beating back the pandemic — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — on Wednesday urged visitors arriving from US hotspots to quarantine themselves.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the advisory applied to visitors from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.

Several states in the South and West including heavily populated Florida and Texas are suffering what White House advisor and top scientist Anthony Fauci described as "disturbing" new surges in infections.

Daily case averages are being pushed to record levels in the region, even as former epicenters like New York and Detroit have seen their figures drop.

Fauci warned that the next two weeks would be "critical" to addressing the surges.

Florida marked 5,508 new infections on Tuesday, bringing its total to more than 109,000 confirmed cases and 3,281 deaths.

Governor Ron DeSantis said the state was experiencing "a real explosion in new cases among our younger demographics," and a spike in hospitalizations.

The average age of new cases in Florida Wednesday was just 33 years, his spokeswoman said.

DeSantis warned that bars and restaurants could lose their alcohol licenses if they do not follow social distancing guidelines.

He declined to order a state-wide mandatory masking policy as leaders in California and Washington state have done.

But that hasn't stopped Miami from implementing its own mandatory mask rules.

Stay home

In Texas, which was among the most aggressive states in reopening in early June after months of lockdown, new cases hit a daily high of 5,489 on Tuesday.

A concerned Governor Greg Abbott warned Texans of the virus's "rampant" spread and said the "safest" place to be was in their homes, adding that those who needed to go out should wear masks.

"If those spikes continue, additional measures are going to be necessary," he said.

Four surgical masks will be distributed to each Texan who takes a coronavirus test, Abbott said Wednesday.

Abbott is an ally of Donald Trump, but his warnings are at stark odds with the president, who proclaimed Tuesday that "we did a great job on CoronaVirus." 

Epidemiologist Rebecca Fisher said states like Texas should have maintained their mitigating efforts longer.

"It doesn't look like we are coming close to the top of the peak," Fisher told AFP. "And we're definitely not coming down the other side of this yet."

California, the nation's most populous state, saw a daily record of 7,149 new cases Tuesday, to pass 190,000 total. 

Governor Gavin Newsom warned that a widespread return to "old habits" is "increasing the spread of this virus," but also pointed to record testing levels. He declined to reimpose restrictions.

"Many of us, understandably, developed a little cabin fever. Some, I would argue, have developed a little amnesia," added Newsom.

The neighboring state of Arizona is seeing dangerous spikes.

Its confirmed COVID-19 cases have more than quadrupled since the stay-at-home order expired on May 15, and people getting infected are younger and younger.

Arizona's reported seven-day rolling average of 39 new cases per 100,000 residents is a nationwide high.

That compares with 14 per 100,000 residents in Texas, 11 per 100,000 in California, and just three per 100,000 in New York state, according to the Washington Post.

But the dire figures did not stop Trump from hosting a rally Tuesday in Arizona's largest city Phoenix, where most attendees did not wear masks or practice social distancing. — with Julia Benarrous in Houston

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS UNITED STATES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 12, 2020 - 10:06am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

August 12, 2020 - 10:06am

New Zealand locks down nursing homes nationwide after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern says authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday. — AFP

August 12, 2020 - 8:01am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 736,828 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Tuesday. 

At least 20,122,700 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 12,080,900 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

August 11, 2020 - 5:42pm

New Zealand records first community coronavirus infections in 102 days.

August 11, 2020 - 4:07pm

The Department of Health reports 2,987 new cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the national tally to 139,538. 

280 patients have recovered while 19 died from the deadly virus.

August 11, 2020 - 7:38am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 731,518 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Monday. 

At least 19,884,260 cases have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 11,879,100 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

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