Manic Mondays: Your Weekly Guide For Living In The COVID Economy
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We’ll take good news where we can get it these days, and a little has seeped in. Coronavirus cases are falling in the United States, slowly but surely.
Shifting Attention From State To State
New cases are on a small but steady decline to about 21,000 a day, down from more than 30,000 at peak in April, according to the New York Times.
The drops are mostly in the Northeast in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Churches in Massachusetts are now allowed to reopen.
The bad news, however, is that in some states in the South that have been reopened for weeks, small but fierce flare-ups of Covid-19 virus outbreaks have hit. They include rural pockets of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Arkansas seemed to be on the rebound but by last week new cases spiked to near the highest levels since the epidemic began.
Protests Bring Increased Risk
Adding to the worry of more cases are thousands gathering across the country to protest police brutality. Health officials and other experts say they’re worried that the risk of coronavirus cases will increase as more people gather.
Political leaders urged demonstrators to wear face masks and maintain social distancing to protect themselves and prevent further spread of the virus.
Outdoor protests could mitigate the risk of transmission, and many demonstrators were seen wearing masks.
“The outdoor air dilutes the virus and reduces the infectious dose that might be out there, and if there are breezes blowing, that further dilutes the virus in the air,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told the New York Times. “There was literally a lot of running around, which means they’re exhaling more profoundly, but also passing each other very quickly.”
More Restrictions Eased
Even with a spike in cases, New Jersey’s governor was scheduled Monday to announce “Stage 2” of coronavirus reopening for nonessential retail stores, hair salons and outdoor dining, according to NJ Advanced Media.
New Jersey has been on lockdown for more than two months. It has the second-most Covid-19 deaths and cases among U.S. states.
Outdoor dining will be allowed as of June 15 and nonessential retail can soon allow customers inside with 50% capacity limits.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he expects the region of Western New York to move to Phase 2 on Wednesday. This allows businesses considered “more essential” with lower risks of infection to workers and customers to get priority for opening.
In Ohio, wedding receptions of up to 300 guests can resume. They won’t be too festive, however. No dancing or mingling are allowed under the coronavirus restrictions, and restaurants will have other restrictions to follow. Most other mass gatherings are banned in Ohio through July 1.
Ohio daycare and day camps are allowed to open, limited to nine children per classroom.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that the state is giving out guidelines on how to reopen, and then it’s up to county public health officers to decide when to open based on data.
Los Angeles County plans to soon allow restaurants to reopen for limited dine-in service, as could hair salons.
About half of California’s coronavirus cases and deaths are in Los Angeles County, which is one of only about a dozen California counties not to have received a “variance” from the state allowing more types of businesses to reopen.
Queen Finally Goes Outside
The Queen of England was photographed over the weekend riding a horse on the grounds of Windsor Castle, marking the first time she has been seen outside since the coronavirus lockdown began.
The queen, 94, has been isolating there with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, 98, and a small number of staff.
The last public picture of her was taken March 19 as she was driven away from Buckingham Palace to her Berkshire home.
Tiananmen Square Vigil Denied
For the first time in 30 years, Hong Kong police halted plans for a vigil on Thursday in memory of those who died during the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests. Police cited social-distancing rules for the cancellation.
It’s the first time that the June 4 vigil, which has been held annually since 1990, has been blocked.
It comes on the heels of an announcement last month by Beijing officials that new national security laws on the semiautonomous city are being imposed.
Vigil organizers said they still planned to go to Victoria Park, where the event is regularly held, even though they expected police to break up any gathering. Supporters in Hong Kong and around the world are asked to light candles in their homes and post the images online.
Hong Kong has been successful in controlling the spread of the virus. The city has 7.5 million people but has recorded only 1,085 coronavirus cases and four deaths.