US states reimpose lockdowns after surge in coronavirus cases

Jun 29 2020, 12:23 pm

Multiple state governments within the US, primarily in the country’s south, have reinstituted lockdown policies due to an increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, particularly among young people.

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order on Friday, limiting the operations of specific businesses and services as the “number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations has increased, and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%.”

According to the order, all bars and dining establishments obtaining over 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcohol were closed as of noon Friday. However, they are permitted to remain open solely for delivery and takeout, including alcoholic drinks, “as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.” Restaurants can stay open for dine-in service, but only at 50% capacity as of June 29.

As well, outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must be approved by local authorities, “with certain exceptions.”

“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott stated in a press release. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and enhance public health. We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part.”

Similarly, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) submitted a proposal to close bars in select counties on Sunday following an increase in coronavirus infections. According to the proposal, there are 15 counties on this list, and, as of June 27, they all will have been on the list for three days or more. Seven of them will have been on the list for two weeks or longer.

“Given current rates of disease transmission in some counties and the need to reduce non-essential gatherings where mixing and disease spread occur, CDPH recommends that all counties on the list for three or more consecutive days but less than 14 days, close bars through local health officer order,” the proposal states. “Further, counties which have been on the list for 14 days or greater, are required to immediately close bars within the county. Reopening at that time would be subject to county health office approval, as per usual protocol.”

The demographic most impacted by this surge in coronavirus transmissions and infections is younger. For example, 48% of growth in confirmed known cases of coronavirus in Arizona is individuals between the ages of 22 and 44 years old, with this group comprising 22% of hospitalizations.

Florida has also seen an increase in coronavirus cases among younger populations, prompting health authorities in Miami-Dade County to sign an emergency order on Saturday, closing all beaches starting Friday, July 3, through Tuesday, July 7. The closure “might be extended if conditions do not improve,” they explain.

“As we continue to see more COVID-19 positive test results among young adults and rising hospitalizations, I have decided that the only prudent thing to do to tamp down this recent uptick is to crack down on recreational activities that put our overall community at higher risk,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said in a press release.

Likewise, authorities in South Carolina issued a warning to younger residents on June 19, stating that the number of individuals testing positive for coronavirus under the age of 30 is increasing.

“The increases that we’re seeing serve as a warning that young adults and youth are not immune to COVID-19,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, a physician consultant for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, stated. “They also tell us that younger South Carolinians are not taking social distancing seriously.”

More recently, South Carolina reported 1,366 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and four new probable cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of known cases to 33,221 as of Sunday, June 28.

As of Monday, June 29, the United States remains in the top position in terms of having the highest number of confirmed known cases of coronavirus in the world, with 2,564,163 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.