Some celebrated July 4th virtually while others packed beaches – Health News Today

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

Crowds flocked to Virginia Beach shores Saturday, even after the city canceled its holiday fireworks display to “help keep Virginia Beach safe in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.” CNN affiliate WAVY reported city officials warned residents of additional traffic because of the holiday, adding they anticipated tens of thousands of people would visit Virginia Beach.

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.

Meanwhile, in California, where many beaches in the southern part of the state closed for the holiday weekend, the beach crowds in San Diego were reminiscent of years past. CNN affiliate KSWB reported many were not social distancing or wearing masks.

“It seems pretty regular for the 4th of July with definitely a lot of people,” Marine Safety Lt. Rich Stropky told the affiliate.

In other parts of the country, crowds gathered to continue protests that have been ongoing for more than a month throughout the US. In Baltimore, one witness said at least 300 people gathered around a Christopher Columbus statue before toppling it and throwing it in the water. In New York, more than 1,000 demonstrators marched on Brooklyn Bridge as part of the Unite New York Fourth of July Rally & March, police said.

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.

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