New Covid-19 Lockdowns Are Coming To Parts Of The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know
Thanks to a high-stakes presidential election that gripped much of our attention over the past couple of months, it seemed that much of the country had seemed to forgotten that we were still in the midst of a global pandemic.
Unfortunately, highly contagious viruses do not stop spreading just because we prefer to focus on something else. For months, experts have been warning us about the potential for a second (and worse) wave in the United States.
That wave has arrived – and lockdown measures are slowly being implemented from coast to coast. Here’s what you need to know just as we head into the busy holiday season.
Just as we approach the holidays, the U.S. is seeing a record number of new cases and deaths.
Right now is a difficult time to be in the U.S. The country is experiencing a nationwide spike in Coronavirus cases. So far there have been more than 10 million Covid-19 cases and over a quarter of a million deaths.
Over the past month, the country has been breaking the daily records for new cases with the seven-day average at more than 123,000 new cases per day. As of Wednesday, 65,368 people were hospitalized around the country with Covid-19, which is the largest number at any point so far during the pandemic.
With the rising numbers only expected to get worse, many states are reversing course and putting lockdown measures back in place. How strict the limits become and how many states adapt them is yet to be seen, but with cases spiking the way they are, people across the country should expect their state to follow suit with at least some new restrictions.
“You should be prepared for how bad it’s going to get,” infectious disease doctor William Haseltine told The Daily Beast, adding that “we’re not even near the peak.”
From Los Angeles to New York, local governments are taking action to limit the surge.
California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, has announced he was pulling the “emergency break” amid a troubling surge in cases across the state. Much of the state – about 94% of residents – will now return to the most restrictive tier of rules: including a new requirement on face masks whenever outside your home.
The new statewide measures come as some county officials in Los Angeles said they were considering implementing a curfew in order to slow the spread of the virus.
A curfew would mean that “businesses do not have to close again, but would instead have limited hours for essential activities”, said Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the county board of supervisors, in a statement.
On Wednesday, New York announced new restrictions and paused elements of their re-opening process. “This is our LAST chance to stop a second wave,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter. “We can do it, but we have to act NOW.” The new restrictions include limiting gatherings to 10 or less people indoors, and closing restaurants and bars at 10 p.m.
Chicago’s mayor is asking residents to skip Thanksgiving and avoid seeing family – in order to save lives.
Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a sweeping stay-at-home advisory to help slow the spread of the virus. The order is set to last 30 days and will include other restrictions on gatherings and public activities. At a press conference, Lightfoot said she “calls on all Chicagoans to follow clear measures to protect their community and help us flatten the curve.”
The measures, scheduled to take effect 6 a.m. Monday, urge Chicago residents to only leave their homes for essential activities, such as school or grocery shopping, not hold gatherings with anyone outside of a person’s immediate household, avoid all nonessential travel and to not gather in person with friends and extended family on holidays such as Thanksgiving.
In Arizona, the Navajo Nation is taking its surge in cases seriously and instituting a curfew.
The Navajo Nation, which spreads across parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, is warning of “uncontrolled spread” of Covid-19 throughout the community.
In an effort to stop infections, the nation has entered a strict lockdown: nonessential businesses are closed, schools have been moved to online learning, roads within the nation are closed to visitors. The lockdown will last at least three weeks according to tribal health officials.
“Unfortunately, it appears that this pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. The projections from our health care experts indicate that the Navajo Nation, as well as the country, is on an upward trajectory in terms of new cases of COVID-19,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a Sunday statement. “Please hold yourselves and your loved ones accountable and please pray for our Nation.”
The government had ordered a lockdown for the entire nation of over 170,000 people between March and August as the reservation saw some of the worst conditions in across the U.S. Now, as cases are rising again, the government has shifted its reopening status to code red, invoking its strictest lockdown protocols.
The U.S. isn’t alone as parts of Mexico are also going back into restrictive lockdowns.
On Monday, Mexico City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, announced that although the city would remain at an orange alert level, she was instituting additional restrictions for the capital.
Under the country’s phased restriction plan (which is color coded with red being the highest alert), restaurants, clubs, theatres, gyms, museums, and many other businesses were allowed to reopen under the orange level – with capacity restrictions.
Under the updated guidance, businesses will now see their operating hours slashes from a closing time of 10pm to 7pm and further reduced capacity. Many in the capital suspect it’s only a matter of time until the city is placed back in the red alert level – which would force all non-essential businesses to close once again.
Across Mexico, cases continue to rise. As of mid-November, the country has recorded more than one million confirmed cases and almost 100,000 deaths.
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