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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.

Credit: Sharon Chischilly/Getty Images

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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Racists Threatened To Call ICE On This Mexican Restaurant After They Kept Their Mask Rule

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Racists Threatened To Call ICE On This Mexican Restaurant After They Kept Their Mask Rule

Felix Aguilar / Getty Images

Several states across the country (mostly governed by Republican leaders) have decided to repeal their mask mandates despite their own health officials urging against such moves.

Yes, the vaccine roll out has improved under the Biden administration – with nearly 2 million people getting vaccinated each day – but that is still not enough for the United States to reach herd immunity over night.

Now, thanks to these irresponsible moves by Republican governors, Americans are left to fend for themselves against anti-makers. In fact, a Mexican restaurant in Texas that decided to keep its mask mandate for diners is now facing racist attacks with people threatening to call ICE on its workers.

Texas Mexican restaurant is facing a backlash for sticking to its mask rules.

Houston’s Picos Restaurant, a small family-owned Mexican restaurant, is facing racist threatening comments after deciding to prioritize public health amid an ongoing pandemic. Several people sent hateful messages through social media and called the restaurant, threatening to report staffers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“It was just horrific,” co-owner Monica Richards told the Washington Post. “People don’t understand unless you’re in our business what it felt like, how hard it was to go through everything we went through during covid. For people to be negative toward us for trying to remain safe, so that this doesn’t continue to happen, just makes zero sense to us.”

Picos decided to maintain their mask mandate as the governor lifted the state-wide one.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) rescind the statewide mask mandate despite the fact that a vast majority of his state’s residents remain vulnerable to COVID-19. The governor has ignored the advice of his own public health officials who say the state should wait on lifting these mandates until their is a greater incidence of vaccination in communities.

With Abbotts order, Texas will become the largest state in the nation to no longer require masks, which has not come easily for many businesses that are navigating enforcement mask rules to protect employees and customers while facing backlash.

Experts agree that masks are among the most effective way to curb the spread of COVID-19, but they’ve also become a partisan symbol. Masks have become so symbolic that one conservative group is set to hold a mask burning party the day the order is lifted, according to the Washington Post.

Picos hasn’t been the only restaurant facing such a backlash.

In fact, another Mexican restaurant in Houston, Cantina Bar, has been the victim of similar threatening messages, while several staff have been intimidated by screaming customers who refuse to wear masks even while it was required by a state order. Another Houston Mexican restaurant, Cantina Barba, received similar intimidating messages, and staff have been bullied by some screaming customers who refused to wear masks while it was required statewide, co-owner Steven O’Sullivan said.

“This has been ongoing through covid,” co-owner Steven O’Sullivan told the Post. “We’ve had threats of calling ICE. I had one guy just stand there and berate one of my bartenders and tell her ‘you’re an absolute idiot, you don’t know what you’re doing. If you think these masks are going to save your life, you’re stupid’ blah, blah, blah. Nobody wants to deal with that stuff.”

Another employee at a separate restaurant had to get stitches after he was hit in the head with a glass by a maskless customer he approached, Houston Police said. Hopefully, the governor will still encourage his constituents to do what’s right and continue to wear masks when asked to do.

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Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

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Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images

Despite being one of the world’s hardest hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mexico never once closed its doors to international tourism. In fact, the country has worked hard to lure travelers from the U.S. as Americans faced increasingly tough restrictions at home. This has had a profound impact on the country’s experience with Covid-19, with so many Mexicans either falling ill themselves or knowing someone who has.

With so many Mexicans having first hand experience with the virus, it makes sense why so many have strong opinions about tourist’s behaviors while visiting the country.

Tourists are still welcomed in Mexico but their bad behavior is not.

Most Mexicans agree with their government’s open borders approach during the pandemic, since the alternative would have meant even worse economic situation for a country already suffering record levels of poverty. But the influx of tourists to the country has brought with it a level of resentment at those who fail to follow local health guidelines while on vacation.

Mexico never closed its airports to tourists and one walk down a block in Mexico City’s popular Condesa or Roma neighborhoods and you’ll spot American tourists within minutes – many failing to wear a mask. The problem is even more severe in popular tourist destinations like Oaxaca.

There, tourists often travel from the bustling city of Oaxaca into remote villages where Indigenous residents have even less access to proper medical care.

Residents fear that tourists feel they are exempt from local Covid-19 guidelines.

Many residents who have had their own personal experience with the coronavirus has made them sensitive to the pandemic situation in their community. As case numbers continued to rise, many noticed more tourists defying widely practiced public-health protocols, like wearing face masks in public.

On Feb. 25, a popular photographer from Oaxaca, Frank Coronado, posted a plea to his 171,000 Instagram followers: “Dear travelers, you are welcome in Oaxaca, but you should ALWAYS wear a mask when you are in public places.”

He wanted to publicly address the issue and encourage visitors to do better — particularly foreigners who travel from Oaxaca City into smaller rural villages, where artisans are even more vulnerable. He told the Washington Post, “I get mad because I already went through [covid-19] and know how bad it feels. I don’t want my people, the people of Oaxaca, to get sick.”

With an economy based on services, many don’t have the freedom to work from home.

Many in Mexico don’t have the luxury of isolating from tourists — such as Aurora Tostado, who owns the downtown coffee shop Marito & Moglie with her husband.

“People in Mexico, we have to get out of our homes to work. It’s not like we can work remotely like most of the people in the U.S.,” Tostado told the Washington Post. Like others in hospitality, Tostado benefits financially from having tourists, and she is happy to welcome them back, she says. She just hopes they will consider the chain reaction of their behavior as they enjoy the culture that makes her city special

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