10 U.S. Cities That Are Sounding the Alarm Over Coronavirus
As temperatures heat up and people head outside, many believe that the coronavirus pandemic is, at least for now, over. That's not the case. More than half of U.S. states are seeing rising cases of coronavirus, the Associated Press reports. In these 10 cities, the uptick is so concerning that local officials are speaking out.
This week Harris County, which includes Houston, announced its highest number of hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic, and intensive care beds are at 88% capacity. Lina Hidalgo, the county's director of emergency management asked residents to minimize contact with others, avoid large gatherings and patronize only permissible businesses. "I am growing increasingly concerned that we may be approaching the precipice of a disaster," she said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown paused the state's reopening plans on June 11, the day health officials announced 178 new cases—the largest one-day total since the pandemic began.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Florida is experiencing its highest weekly average for new coronavirus cases, and it set a new daily record. "The virus is still here. It has not gone away. It is still affecting many people. There is still community spread," said county health director Dr. Alina Alonso. "It is not contained in any way, shape or form."
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
On June 11, South Carolina reported its highest one-day total of coronavirus cases. Some vacation hotspots are canceling events like July 4 celebrations in response. A spokesman for Myrtle Beach told CNN he's advising visitors to "bring your mask and your patience."
The state of Arizona two all-time highs this week—79% of intensive care hospital beds are occupied and 38% of ventilators are in use—as cases of coronavirus have nearly doubled since Memorial Day. "We have had so many of the records you don't want to be hitting for Covid-19 from my perspective," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. "We opened too much too early and so our hospitals are really struggling."
On Thursday, officials said they would delay the next phase in the city's reopening because coronavirus cases are on the rise. "As of today, the majority of our public health metrics are satisfactory. But our 14-day new case average remains slightly elevated," said Mayor John Cooper. He directed the health department to investigate a surge of cases in southeast Nashville.
Los Angeles, California
Businesses are reopening in California according to the state's Phase 3 plan, even though Los Angeles reported its second-highest daily total of coronavirus cases this week. On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the reopenings made him nervous. "We are still in the biggest medical pandemic of our lives," he said, urging anyone who's participated in recent protests to quarantine for 14 days or be tested for Covid-19.
On June 12, Mayor Jack Young said Baltimore would not be joining the next phase of the state's reopening plan that day. "I would love to say Baltimore City is safe to open, but that is not what the data is showing us," he said. "Most cities that have reopened have seen a spike in new cases, and I don't want that on my hands."
Health officials reported a record-breaking number of new local coronavirus infections this week, which they attribute to people forgoing precautions. "We are beginning to see very concerning numbers, and I really want people to wear masks and maintain social distancing," said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. "It's concerning because we are seeing less and less of that."
Salt Lake City, Utah
On June 12, Gov. Gary Herbert ordered that most of the state pause reopening plans. The state health department has reported 15 straight days of more than 200 new coronavirus cases. "There is a more relaxed attitude towards physical distancing and face coverings and staying home when we're ill," said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. "And right now, the risk of spread of COVID-19 is higher than it's ever been in this epidemic. These individual behaviors are essential for us to be able to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect those at highest risk."
What Can You Do?
Follow the CDC's advice: wash your hands regularly; practice social distancing; wear a face covering; if you're sick, stay home alone; and monitor your health. And to stay safe in your city, don't miss These Big New Guidelines About Coronavirus.