Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
As Pandemic Worsens, Most US States Resist Restrictions
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 years ago on
January 12, 2021

Share

PHOENIX — As the U.S. goes through the most lethal phase of the coronavirus outbreak yet, governors and local officials in hard-hit parts of the country are showing little willingness to impose any new restrictions on businesses to stop the spread.

And unlike in 2020, when the debate over lockdowns often split along party lines, both Democratic and Republican leaders are signaling their opposition to forced closings and other measures.

Some have expressed fear of compounding the heavy economic damage inflicted by the outbreak.. Some see little patience among their constituents for more restrictions 10 months into the crisis. And some seem to be focused more on the rollout of the vaccines that could eventually vanquish the threat.

The most notable change of tune came from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who imposed a tough shutdown last spring as the state became the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

“We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open,” Cuomo said this week as confirmed infections in the state climbed to an average of 16,000 a day and deaths reached about 170 per day.

Theaters remain closed and there is no indoor dining in New York City, but Cuomo said Tuesday that if a system of rapid virus tests could be developed, it could allow those things to return more safely.

In Arizona, where the pandemic is raging, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has been steadfast in his opposition to a statewide mask mandate or the closing of bars, gyms and restaurant dining despite repeated calls from hospital leaders to take such steps.

“If we’re really all in this together, then we have to appreciate that for many families ‘lockdown’ doesn’t spell inconvenience; it spells catastrophe,” Ducey said.

Even in States With Strict Measures in Place, Such as California, People Are Flouting the Rules

Governors in other hot spots, including Texas, have expressed similar sentiments, while other states are loosening restrictions even as the U.S. death toll closes in on 380,000 and cases top 22.7 million. Deaths nationwide are running at more than 3,200 a day on average.

Minnesota allowed in-person dining to resume this week, and Michigan is set to do the same Friday. Nevada’s rules are set to expire Friday.

Even in states with strict measures in place, such as California, people are flouting the rules. On Monday, as intensive care units in Southern California found themselves jammed with patients, people packed beaches in San Diego to see this week’s high surf, many standing less than 6 feet apart with no masks.

Other Americans have ignored the rules as well. U.S. tourists flocked to Mexico’s Caribbean coast over Christmas and New Year’s, while thousands of University of Alabama football fans crowded into bars Monday night to celebrate the school’s national championship.

More than 9.3 million Americans have received their first shot of the vaccine, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention, a slow rollout for a campaign that will have to inoculate perhaps 85% percent of the population, or close to 300 million people, to conquer the outbreak.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced plans to speed things up by releasing practically twice as much vaccine, instead of holding large quantities in reserve to make sure that people received the required second dose on time. The practice of holding back doses was spurred by fear of production delays, but officials said they are now confident the supply will be there.

The Trump administration also asked states to immediately start vaccinating other groups lower down the priority scale, including the estimated 54 million Americans 65 and older, as well as younger people with certain health problems. Several states had already begun offering shots to senior citizens over the past few days.

But experts warn that life is unlikely to get back to normal any time soon. Vaccinating enough Americans to stop the virus could take well into the second half of 2021, by some estimates.

Some Californians Are Escaping by Heading to Neighboring Arizona

“We’re at a really critical point right now,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, head of epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. “On the one hand, it is clear with vaccines that we have light at the end of the tunnel, but it is also pretty clear it’s going to be a pretty long tunnel.”

California is an outlier, with a strict lockdown in most of the state that has limited restaurants to takeout and delivery and shuttered hair salons and gyms.

California’s COVID-19 death toll reached 30,000 on Monday. Hospitals in Los Angeles are so swamped that patients on gurneys are being treated in gift shops and parking lots. Officials started urging people to wear masks even at home if they go outside regularly and live with someone elderly or otherwise at high risk.

Anger over the restrictions has led to a recall movement against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom that has nearly gathered the 1.5 million signatures needed to put his career to a vote.

Some Californians are escaping by heading to neighboring Arizona, where they can eat and drink at bars and restaurants.

Bartender Raul Amaya, who works at Carly’s Bistro in Phoenix, said he is grateful for the business since it keeps him employed. Everyone, he said, needs a break.

““I think every time there has been a closure in different states, a lot more influx of different people from different states has come in,” he said. “The only reason I’ve noticed it is they want a drink and we have to ask for ID from everybody. So, I was like ‘Oh, this is a lot of California or Nevada IDs.’”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Fresno Trustees Have Two Days of Homework This Weekend. What Is It About?

DON'T MISS

Opinion: Likelihood of Trump Seeing the Inside of a Cell Is Increasing

DON'T MISS

The Dog Behind ‘Dogecoin’ Has Died at the Age of 18

DON'T MISS

Plan Your Weekend With This Fresno Memorial Day Events List

DON'T MISS

Snow is the Resilient Maltipoo Who Is Ready for Her Forever Home

DON'T MISS

Dolores Huerta, Mayors Dyer and Ashbeck Oppose Tax Protection Measure. What Does it Do?

DON'T MISS

Fresno State Opens 2024 Mountain West Championship With Loss to Air Force

DON'T MISS

Arizona Doctors Can Come to California to Perform Abortions Under New Law Signed by Gov. Newsom

DON'T MISS

Second Flag Carried by Jan. 6 Rioters Displayed Outside House Owned by Justice Alito, Report Says

DON'T MISS

The Bodies of 3 More Hostages Are Recovered from Gaza by the Israeli Army

UP NEXT

American Airlines Retreats After Blaming a 9-Year-Old for Not Seeing a Hidden Camera in a Lavatory

UP NEXT

Portland Nurse Returns Home After Treating Gaza Burn Victims

UP NEXT

RNC HQ Evacuated: Blood Vials Addressed to Trump Prompt Security Alert

UP NEXT

Ex-Employee Kills 2, Injures 3 in Suburban Philadelphia Linen Company Shooting

UP NEXT

Search and Rescue Ongoing After Iowa Tornado; 1 Dead

UP NEXT

How the Beatles Empowered a Research Genius to Save Millions of Lives

UP NEXT

Petrochemical Company Fined $30M for 2019 Houston Explosions

UP NEXT

Biden Releases 1 Million Barrels from Northeast Reserve to Lower Gas Prices

UP NEXT

UN Security Council Rejects Russia-Backed Resolution on Banning Weapons in Space

UP NEXT

Why US Catholics Are Planning Pilgrimages in Communities Across the Nation

Plan Your Weekend With This Fresno Memorial Day Events List

2 hours ago

Snow is the Resilient Maltipoo Who Is Ready for Her Forever Home

2 hours ago

Dolores Huerta, Mayors Dyer and Ashbeck Oppose Tax Protection Measure. What Does it Do?

3 hours ago

Fresno State Opens 2024 Mountain West Championship With Loss to Air Force

3 hours ago

Arizona Doctors Can Come to California to Perform Abortions Under New Law Signed by Gov. Newsom

3 hours ago

Second Flag Carried by Jan. 6 Rioters Displayed Outside House Owned by Justice Alito, Report Says

4 hours ago

The Bodies of 3 More Hostages Are Recovered from Gaza by the Israeli Army

5 hours ago

California Supreme Court Weighs Two Cases That Could Limit the Ballot Initiative Process

5 hours ago

Documentary Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, Who Skewered Fast Food Industry, Dies at 53

5 hours ago

Rapper Sean Kingston Arrested in California After SWAT Raids His Florida Home

5 hours ago

Fresno Trustees Have Two Days of Homework This Weekend. What Is It About?

Fresno Unified trustees will spend part of their Memorial Day weekend at a two-day workshop in downtown Fresno to learn about an initiative ...

39 mins ago

39 mins ago

Fresno Trustees Have Two Days of Homework This Weekend. What Is It About?

1 hour ago

Opinion: Likelihood of Trump Seeing the Inside of a Cell Is Increasing

1 hour ago

The Dog Behind ‘Dogecoin’ Has Died at the Age of 18

2 hours ago

Plan Your Weekend With This Fresno Memorial Day Events List

2 hours ago

Snow is the Resilient Maltipoo Who Is Ready for Her Forever Home

3 hours ago

Dolores Huerta, Mayors Dyer and Ashbeck Oppose Tax Protection Measure. What Does it Do?

3 hours ago

Fresno State Opens 2024 Mountain West Championship With Loss to Air Force

3 hours ago

Arizona Doctors Can Come to California to Perform Abortions Under New Law Signed by Gov. Newsom

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend