CAL­I­FOR­NIA CLOSES BARS, IN­DOOR RES­TAU­RANT DIN­ING

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY JAKE COYLE AND JONATHAN J. COOPER

PHOENIX — Cal­i­for­nia closed down bars, the­aters and in­door res­tau­rant din­ing all over again across most of the state Wed­nes­day, and Ari­zona’s out­break grew more se­vere by nearly ev­ery mea­sure, as the surg­ing coro­n­avirus cri­sis across the South and West sent a shud­der through the coun­try.

The run-up in con­firmed cases has been blamed in part on what New Jersey’s gov­er­nor has called “knuck­le­head be­hav­ior” by Amer­i­cans not wear­ing masks or obey­ing other so­cial-dis­tanc­ing rules.

“The bot­tom line is the spread of this virus con­tin­ues at a rate that is par­tic­u­larly con­cern­ing,” Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som said in dra­mat­i­cally ex­pand­ing the round of clos­ings he an­nounced over the week­end.

The an­nounce­ment, which came ahead of what is ex­pected to be a busy Fourth of July week­end, ap­plies to 19 coun­ties en­com­pass­ing nearly three-quar­ters of Cal­i­for­nia’s 40 mil­lion peo­ple, in­clud­ing Los An­ge­les County.

Con­firmed cases in Cal­i­for­nia have in­creased nearly 50% over the past two weeks, and COVID-19 hos­pi­tal­iza­tions have gone up 43%. New­som re­ported nearly 5,900 new cases and 110 more deaths in 24 hours.

Florida recorded more than 6,500 new cases — down from around 9,000 on some days last week, but still alarm­ing.

“Too many peo­ple were crowd­ing into restau­rants late at night, turn­ing these es­tab­lish­ments into breed­ing grounds for this deadly virus,” Mi­ami-Dade Mayor Car­los Gimenez said.

The num­ber of con­firmed cases in the U.S. per day has roughly dou­bled over the past month, hit­ting 44,800 on Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to a count kept by Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity. The virus in the U.S. is blamed for more than 127,000 deaths.

JAE C. HONG/AP

A booth is taped off for so­cial dis­tanc­ing at Mariscos Linda res­tau­rant Wed­nes­day in Los An­ge­les.

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