NEW YORK — With the coronavirus spreading rapidly in other large states such as California, Florida, and Texas, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that New York City would not resume indoor dining at restaurants next week as anticipated.
The decision to indefinitely delay indoor dining, which was made in conjunction with Governor Andrew Cuomo, comes as New York officials are increasingly concerned that the increase in virus cases in more than 30 states could trickle back to New York, which has managed to rein in the outbreak.
“Indoors is the problem more and more,” said de Blasio, adding that “the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse.”
“It is not the time to forge ahead with indoor dining,” he said.
The move to delay indoor dining came on the heels of a similar announcement by Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey to halt a planned restart of indoor dining that was to have gone into effect Thursday.
And in California, Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered indoor operations at restaurants, bars, wineries, and movie theaters to shut down in 19 counties, including Los Angeles, following a spike in cases and lax adherence to social distancing protocols.
In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday said she was closing indoor seating in bars in parts of the state, including a city with a bar that has been linked to a rising number of infections.
New York Times and Associated Press
LIttle evidence protests increased infections
NEW YORK — There is little evidence that the protests that erupted after George Floyd’s death caused a significant increase in US coronavirus infections, according to public health experts.
If the protests had driven an explosion in cases, experts say, the jumps would have started to become apparent within two weeks — and perhaps as early as five days. But that didn’t happen in many cities with the largest protests, including New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C.
In what’s considered the first systematic look at the question, a team of economists determined that only 1 of 13 cities involved in the earliest wave of protests after Memorial Day had an increase that would fit the pattern.
It was Phoenix, where experts say cases and hospitalizations surged after a decision by Governor Doug Ducey to end Arizona’s stay-at-home order on May 15 and to ease restrictions on businesses. Arizona residents who were cooped up for six weeks flooded Phoenix-area bar districts, ignoring social distancing guidelines.
In many cities, the protests actually seemed to lead to a net increase in social distancing, as more people who did not protest decided to stay off the streets, said that study’s lead author, Dhaval Dave of Bentley University.
300,000 face masks to be given out at D.C. July 4 event
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s July 4th celebration in Washington will feature one of the largest fireworks displays ever, officials said Wednesday, and as many as 300,000 face masks will be given away to those who come to the National Mall, although they won’t be required to wear them.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt outlined a second year of military-focused Independence Day events in the nation’s capital, including Defense Department flyovers for a “one-of-a-kind air show.”
The Trump administration’s Salute to America comes as Americans are dealing with surging cases of COVID-19 and a resulting recession and wave of unemployment. Trump has been criticized by some for pushing to go ahead with large campaign rallies and other public gatherings, such as this weekend’s events, despite the increased risk of infection.
Bernhardt said authorities planned to have 300,000 face coverings on hand to give away at the National Mall. The Interior Department said visitors would be encouraged to wear masks and keep a 6-foot distance from one another. It did not indicate that would be mandatory, despite the recommendations of health officials.
Ariz. records highs in deaths, infections, hospitalizations
The novel coronavirus continues to pummel Arizona, where health officials on Wednesday reported record highs in new infections, deaths, and virus-related hospitalizations.
The state reported 4,877 new confirmed cases, eclipsing its prior daily record, set 24 hours earlier. Eighty-eight more people died of the virus, the highest daily death toll yet, bringing the state’s fatalities to 1,720.
Intensive care unit beds in state hospitals were filling quickly, reaching 89 percent capacity, according to the health department. Nearly 2,900 people were hospitalized for the virus, up from 2,800 Tuesday.
The grim new data came as Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Phoenix to meet with Governor Doug Ducey to discuss Arizona’s response to the outbreak. Pence had delayed the meeting by a day and called off a planned campaign rally in Tucson amid the surge in infections.
Washington Post and Bloomberg