Americans crowd beaches and parks to enjoy Fourth of July holiday as coronavirus surges nationwide – The Sun
AMID a backdrop of surging coronavirus cases across the country, Americans are defying warnings to stay home and are out in droves to celebrate Independence Day weekend.
The Fourth of July vacation came as Florida reported 11,445 new coronavirus cases on Saturday – a record number – while the US set another daily record on Friday with more than 52,000 new infections.
America now has more than 2.8 million confirmed cases, making up around a quarter of the world's total infections, and almost 130,000 people in the US have died.
The country has been forced to scale back reopening plans, such as in Texas and Los Angeles county, where bars have been ordered to close again due to the spike in cases.
Officials across the US attempted to limit crowding over the weekend by shutting down beaches and regional attractions – such as Zoo Miami in Florida – and closing bars.
The efforts are in stark contrast with President Trump's Mount Rushmore gathering, which saw 7,000 people attend.
A Salute for America celebration is planned on Saturday evening which includes a presidential speech and a fireworks display in downtown Washington DC which could attract thousands.
In Alabama, another record was set this week, with more than 1,700 confirmed cases recorded on Thursday.
“I’m really, really worried about the Fourth of July,” Dr Don Williamson, a former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association, told AP.
“I think that will likely determine the trend for Alabama for the rest of the summer.”
On Thursday, coronavirus expert Dr Anthony Fauci said it is "pretty obvious" the US is "not going in the right direction".
"What we've seen is a very disturbing week," Dr Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, said in a live stream with the American Medical Association.
"There's this feeling of an all or none phenomenon, where you're either on lockdown or you're just going to say … the devil may care and just let it all go," he said.
Gilead Sciences announced on Monday that it has "entered into an agreement" with the US and will supply hospitals with the Remdesivir through September.
Remdesivir is the only approved drug in the country to treat coronavirus.
The company will send most of its supply of remdesirvir to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the agency will work with states to manage allocation to hospitals.
However, Fauci has said he wants to share the drug with the rest of the world in a bid to seize the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on Thursday, he said: "I've always been as a scientist and a public health official one that feels strongly that whenever you get an intervention, you should have a real careful look at the equity of trying to get some reasonable equitable type of distribution, particularly when you get a product that's limited."
During the same interview, Fauci warned that America must get the coronavirus under control or face a second wave that will be worse than the first.
Fauci added: "Obviously, it’s a serious situation."
"If you look at the different curves between the European Union, the UK, and others, how they’ve handled the outbreak, they’ve had big spikes and then they’ve brought it down almost… to baseline.
"The situation in the United States has been more problematic.
"We got hit very badly – worse than any country – with regard to the number of cases and the number of deaths."
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