Coronavirus USA: which states are still on lockdown?
California, North Carolina and a string of U.S. cities mandated or urged mandatory mask use to get a grip on spiralling coronavirus cases as at least six states set daily records.
Putting aside concerns about individual rights and political unpopularity, U.S. governors and mayors said they were turning to compulsory face coverings to stop the virus running out of control as economies reopened.
On a day when Florida posted 3,207 new cases, its second daily record in a week, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings ordered obligatory mask use, telling residents of Orlando and other cities it would help them avoid a second shutdown.
California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered mask use in most places as the state for the second day in a row registered over 4,000 new cases.
As Arizona posted another daily case record, the Democratic mayors of Tucson and Phoenix respectively ordered and prepared to vote on mandatory face coverings after Republican Governor Doug Ducey bowed to pressure and let cities set mask rules.
Masks can save lives
"This piece of protection may even save your life," North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper told reporters, adding that he was considering statewide obligatory mask use on a day when statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations set a new high.
A month after many governors reopened their economies, a growing number are adopting U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that masks are essential to prevent community spread.
Resistance to face masks took on a partisan edge after President Donald Trump opposed them, telling the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Thursday that some people wear them to show opposition to him.
But with businesses ranging from Las Vegas casinos to hardware chains requiring their use, masks are becoming commonplace in the United States.
In Texas, the mayors of the state’s nine biggest cities asked Republican Governor Greg Abbott this week to grant them authority to set mask regulations.
All 50 states in the country have begun to reopen in some way after the coronavirus thrust the country into lockdown back in March. There are however a series of variations in how states are deciding to open up, with some forging far ahead of others in a bid to kickstart local economies.
The changes reflect the pressures weighing on the nation’s governors to respond to a crippled economy and an anxious public, even as experts advise on the need for restraint with the fear for a potential for a second wave of cases an ongoing concern.
All states have now opened retail outlets, food and drink establishments, gyms, public parks along with office spaces and most states are not considering a second shutdown should cases spiral out of control as they face budget shortfalls and double-digit unemployment. Many went ahead with re-openings before meeting the government infection rate guidelines for doing so with hard hit by pandemic NYC set to move to 'phase two' next week.
Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration director who has advised the White House on the coronavirus, said on Monday that flare-ups needed to be addressed with aggressive contact tracing and targeted responses.
"We’re not going to be able to shut down the country again this summer. We’re probably not going to be able to shut down the country again this fall,” he said on CNBC.
Highest global cases
Nationwide, COVID-19 cases clock in at 2.1 million, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University with the death total in the U.S. now standing at over 118,000, the highest on the planet.
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