Sunny days draw crowds across U.S.
New virus cases still on the rise in about 20 states
Sunny days and warm weather are proving to be as challenging to manage as restaurants, hair salons and other businesses as about half of U.S. states partially reopen their economies after the coronavirus lockdown.
On Saturday, thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington to view a U.S. navy flyover to honour health-care workers and others battling the pandemic.
In New York City, the warmest weather yet this spring caused picnickers and sunbathers to flock to green spaces in Manhattan, including crowded conditions at Christopher Street Pier in Greenwich Village, according to photos on social media.
Last week, California ordered beaches in Orange County to close, after crowds defied public health guidelines to throng the popular shoreline. That prompted protests by demonstrators who accused the state’s Democratic governor of overreach.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said there are “some real issues” near the pier and police would increase patrols.
Dr. Deborah Birx, response co-ordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said on Fox News Sunday that massing on beaches was not safe unless people kept at least six feet apart. She also weighed in against allowing such businesses as beauty salons and spas to reopen in the first phase.
“We’ve made it clear that that is not a good phase one activity,” she said, as the number of U.S. cases topped 1.1 million and the death toll rose to more than 67,000 on Sunday.
Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said on Sunday the country was seeing a “mixed bag” of results from coronavirus mitigation efforts. He said there were about 20 states that are seeing a rising number of new cases including Illinois, Texas, Maryland, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Virginia reported a record number of deaths on Sunday, up 44 for a total of 660.
“We expected that we would start seeing more significant declines in new cases and deaths around the nation at this point. And we’re just not seeing that,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “If we don’t snuff this out more and you have this slow burn of infection, it can ignite at any time.”
As Texas becomes one of the leading states pushing for its businesses to reopen, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said people appear to be obeying the new rules.
“People have not been rushing back into these restaurants and they have not been rushing back into the areas of the economy that the governor reopened on Friday,” he told CNN. “What we are seeing is people sort of putting their toe back in.”
People walk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Earlier in the day thousands gathered at the site to watch a U.S. navy flyover to honour health-care workers and others battling the pandemic.