From California to Pennsylvania, U.S. governors and mayors are raising COVID-19 restrictions amid a record revival of the virus, which is sure to be exacerbated by holiday travel and family reunions during Thanksgiving.
Leaders are closing businesses or restricting working hours and other operations, and ordering or begging people to stay home and stay away from others to help stop the growing influx of infections that threaten to overwhelm the health care system.
“I have to pull the reins again,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday, limiting indoor gatherings to 1
California Gov. Gavin Newsum said he was pulling the “emergency brake” on efforts to open up the economy, saying the state was growing the fastest so far and that if not repealed, it would lead to “catastrophic results.” This move closes many insignificant indoor businesses and requires the wearing of masks outside homes, with limited exceptions.
The tightening came when Moderna Inc. announced that its experimental coronavirus vaccine appears to be over 94% effective, based on early results. A week ago, Pfizer revealed similar findings with its own formula.
The news raised hopes that at least two vaccines against the scourge could gain emergency approval and become available in the United States before the end of 2020.
A record 70,000 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus in the United States on Sunday, 13,000 more than a week earlier, according to the COVID tracking project. Deaths in the United States average more than 1,100 a day, an increase of more than 50 percent since early October.
The virus has been blamed for more than 246,000 deaths and more than 11 million confirmed infections in the United States
New Mexico Gov. Michel Luzhan Grisham’s order will take effect on Monday. Only major businesses will be opened, including grocery stores and pharmacies.
Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Insley has ordered gyms, bowling alleys, cinemas, museums and zoos to shut down indoor activities. Stores should limit capacity to 25%.
People from different households will be barred from gathering indoors in Washington unless they are quarantined. There is no enforcement mechanism. Insley said he hoped people would still obey.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has called on residents of the country’s third-largest city to limit social gatherings to 10 from Monday. In instructions that were advisory rather than mandatory, she urged residents to stay at home, except for basic activities such as going to work or shopping for groceries.
Philadelphia has banned all indoor dining in restaurants and indoor gatherings of any size, public or private, from people in a variety of households as of this Friday.
In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gothen Whitmer warned that he had the right to issue a second home stay order to curb the peak coronavirus if necessary, and said it was “incredibly reckless” for President Donald Trump’s scientific adviser, Scott Atlas Get Up Against Michigan’s Last Restrictions.
Over the weekend, Whitmer announced that high schools and colleges in Michigan should stop private classes, restaurants should stop indoor restaurants, and entertainment businesses should close for three weeks. The collecting dimensions will also be tightened.
Fourteen men were charged earlier this fall in an alleged plot to kidnap the governor in anger over her COVID-19 restrictions.
Atlas later tweeted that he would NEVER support or incite violence.
Even North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, who has been resisting for months, put one up over the weekend amid a heavy fire in the state.
Yet several other GOP governors have taken further steps or even resisted these – continuing to emphasize “personal responsibility” rather than government decrees. Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Shield has announced that bars and restaurants should have space tables 6 feet away and end personal service at 11 p.m.
In severely affected South Dakota, Gov. Christy Noem continued his hands-free approach and opposed a mandate or other restrictions.
In recent days, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stressed that new treatments and vaccines are expected to be available soon.
Vice President Mike Pence expressed an optimistic tone Monday in talks with governors, saying the government is ready to help states where hospitals are approaching capacity, and stressed that vaccines are coming.
“America has never been better prepared to fight this virus,” he said.