Heading into the holiday weekend, several hot-spot states, including Arizona and Florida are seeing the rolling average of new cases hit record highs. Florida on Friday reported its seven-day average of new cases was 7,948 — the 26th consecutive day that state has set a record high in its seven-day rolling average. Arizona set a record for a single-day high with 4,433 new cases as of Friday. More than 3,000 people in the state are hospitalized due to covid-19, depleting the state’s ICU bed capacity to just 9 percent, according to the state’s latest health data.
Here are some significant developments:
- Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that attendees will not will be required to wear masks at President Trump’s massive — and controversial — fireworks planned at Mount Rushmore and Washington on the Mall this weekend. On the “Today” show, Adams said while everyone should wear a mask when going out in public, he stopped short of discouraging large gatherings.
- The weekend’s weather is expected to push most states into the 90-degree range and threatens to further strain hospital capacity. High temperatures are forecast to be especially intense in the central and southern United States, which is struggling with the worst of the outbreak.
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) reversed his stance on a mask requirement and on Thursday issued a statewide mandate requiring Texans to wear masks in public in any county with 20 or more positive novel coronavirus cases; those who don’t comply could face fines up to $250.
- Ahead of a three-day holiday weekend, Chicago and Pennsylvania announced new travel quarantine measures for arrivals from coronavirus hot-spot states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. The order goes into effect July 6.
The Trump administration has maintained a softer stance on masks and social distancing even as top government health experts warn of a bleak outlook ahead if the country stays the current course. Adams suggested Friday that mandates, such as requiring attendees to Trump’s planned holiday events to wear a mask, would only make people rebel. It was more beneficial, Adams said, to help people understand why they should wear a mask rather than simply ordering them to do so.
“As we talk about Fourth of July and independence, it’s important to understand that if we wear these, we’ll actually have more independence and more freedom because more places will be able to stay open,” Adams said.
More than a dozen governors and mayors since Thursday have tweeted reminders to take precautions and encouraged mask-wearing and social distancing. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) reminded residents that cases surged following Memorial Day.
Protect your health and your community by keeping your 4th of July celebrations small, local, and with face coverings. We saw a lot of new COVID-19 cases after Memorial Day weekend. Another spike from the 4th could mean our hospitals become overwhelmed by new cases within weeks. pic.twitter.com/RqmfjLWuWK
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 2, 2020