Saturday 4 July 2020

US records 60,000 daily cases and infections rise in 40 states while Florida heads 'a million miles an hour in the wrong direction'

Independence Day revelers hit beaches and fire up BBQs as US records another record
The United States is gearing up for an Independence Day unlike any other, with many parades and fireworks displays canceled, beaches and bars closed, and concern that the festivities could cause a spike in coronavirus cases.

Health authorities are warning that this weekend will be a crucial test of Americans' self-control, and that it could determine the trajectory of the surging COVID-19 outbreak.

With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. 

Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.

'This year is a huge bummer, to say the least,' said Ashley Peters, who for 14 years has hosted 150 friends and relatives at a pool party at her home in Manteca, California, complete with a DJ, bounce house, water slide and shaved-ice stand. 

This time, the guest list is down to just a few people.

Pulling the plug on the bash, she said, was a 'no-brainer' because so many of those she knows are front-line workers, including her husband, a fire captain. 

'I woke up and told my husband I wish it was just July 5,' she told Associated Press.

Health experts agree this will be a pivotal moment in determining whether the nation slides into a deeper mess.

The fear is that a weekend of crowded pool parties, picnics and parades will fuel the surge.

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