The changes followed pleas from health officials who warned holiday crowds and packed gatherings like the ones the US witnessed over Memorial Day weekend would likely lead to further spikes in coronavirus cases — amid an already raging crisis across the country.
Already, nearly half of US states halted their reopening plans as new coronavirus cases surged to record-breaking numbers in past weeks. Both city and state leaders attributed part of that rise to gatherings of young groups.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now projecting the country will see nearly 148,000 coronavirus deaths by the end of the month. So far, at least 129,676 Americans have died and more than 2.8 million have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.
And while many cities took measured approaches to celebrate the Fourth of July, images emerging from the holiday weekend show not everyone is taking the warnings seriously.
Fourth of July crowds
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, saw similar scenes as beachgoers opted to celebrate by the water Saturday. Earlier this week, the state’s governor announced bars at Delaware beaches would be closed for the holiday weekend.
“It seems pretty regular for the 4th of July with definitely a lot of people,” Marine Safety Lt. Rich Stropky told the affiliate.
Masks and social distancing were also features that were mostly absent from the White House Fourth of July celebration. Tables on the White House South Lawn were somewhat spaced, with about six chairs per table.
And as people tried to beat the July heat, many congregated in the shady areas of the space, not distancing at all.
34 states record rise in new cases
Coronavirus cases are on the rise in 34 states over the past week, with 12 recording an increase of more than 50%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Three states — Kentucky, New Hampshire and Vermont — are reporting a decline in…