sunny.png
Sunday May 9th, 2021 12:26PM

As pandemic worsens, most US states resist restrictions

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PHOENIX (AP) — 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 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. And high school officials voted Tuesday to allow winter sports, reversing a decision made four days earlier to cancel the season.

“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.

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, Michigan is set to do the same, and some bars and restaurants in the Kansas City area are extending their hours. Nevada, meanwhile, is extending restrictions on restaurants that were set to expire Friday.

In Kansas, the state’s largest school district with 47,000 students plans to resume in-person learning.

In Idaho, where many lawmakers refuse to wear masks in the statehouse, a federal judge on Tuesday said he won’t order stricter coronavirus precautions while a lawsuit moves forward from two legislators concerned about being exposed.

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 (1.8 meters) 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 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.

President-elect Joe Biden had previously promised to release the large quantities in reserve after he takes office on Jan. 20. After getting his second dose on Monday, Biden said he has confidence his COVID-19 medical team can hit ambitious vaccination rate targets. Biden said he will release details of his pandemic plan Thursday.

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.

“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.’”

_____

Watson reported from San Diego. Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Zeke Miller in Washington; Jennifer Peltz in New York City and Marina Villeneuve in Albany, New York; Christopher Weber and John Antczak in Los Angeles; Don Thompson in Sacramento, California; and Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Trump claims 25th Amendment will 'haunt' Biden
President Donald Trump says “be careful of what you wish for” as House lawmakers consider a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare the president unable to serve
3:31PM ( 1 minute ago )
As pandemic worsens, most US states resist restrictions
As the U.S. finds itself in 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
3:29PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Stocks drift on Wall Street; Treasury yields keep rallying
U.S. stocks are drifting near their record heights Tuesday, while Treasury yields keep marching higher amid expectations that the economy will pull out of its slump after a powerful recovery sweeps the globe later this year
3:23PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump takes no responsibility for riot, visits Texas
President Donald Trump is taking no responsibility for his part in fomenting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, despite his comments encouraging supporters to march on the Capitol and praise for them while they were still carrying out the assault
2:58PM ( 33 minutes ago )
US shifts to speed COVID shots as cases and deaths rise
Barely a month into a mass vaccination campaign to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration has unexpectedly shifted gears to speed the delivery of shots
2:41PM ( 51 minutes ago )
The Latest: Pence acknowledges 'our time' coming to an end
Vice President Mike Pence has told governors on a call about the coronavirus that “our time” is coming to an end and a “new administration” is taking over
2:40PM ( 51 minutes ago )
AP National News
Officer with knee to George Floyd's neck to be tried alone
A former Minneapolis police officer who held his knee to the neck of George Floyd for minutes will be tried separately from three other former officers accused in his death
1:17PM ( 2 hours ago )
Recovered Midwestern bird soars off endangered species list
Federal officials say a bird called the interior least tern is being dropped from the endangered species list
12:52PM ( 2 hours ago )
Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul and GOP power broker, dies
Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire mogul, Republican mega-donor and power broker who built a casino empire spanning from Las Vegas to China and became a singular force in domestic and international politics has died after a long illness
12:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Official: Africa secures close to 300 million vaccine doses
The African Union has secured close to 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the largest such agreement yet for Africa
2:50PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Official: Africa securing close to 300 million vaccine doses
The African Union has secured close to 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the largest such agreement yet for Africa
2:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
Her past: Billie Eilish photo book coming in May
At age 19, Billie Eilish is already looking back
2:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Job openings down in most industries, while layoffs spike
Layoffs spiked in November compared with the previous month and the number of job openings slipped, a sign the job market has stalled as the resurgent coronavirus has forced new shutdowns of restaurants and bars and discouraged consumer spending
11:10AM ( 4 hours ago )
US stocks open mostly higher a day after taking a stumble
Stocks are mostly higher in the early going on Wall Street, stabilizing after a stumble the day before
9:43AM ( 5 hours ago )
Volkswagen triples electric car sales ahead of climate rules
It's already shaping up to be a year of the electric car in Europe
7:03AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Global shares fall as pandemic fears overshadow aid hopes
Global shares are mostly lower as worries over damage from the pandemic overshadow hopes for more aid for the U.S. economy
4:27AM ( 1 day ago )
Asian shares mixed amid economic aid hopes, pandemic fears
Asian shares are mixed as hopes for more U.S. economic aid are countered by concerns over damage from the pandemic
2:55AM ( 1 day ago )
Asian shares mostly higher on optimism despite pandemic
Asian shares are mostly higher as bullish sentiments stuck to global markets despite continuing signs of economic damage from the pandemic and a new version of the virus was reported in Japan
10:41PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Financial Markets
GM charges up new unit to sell electric delivery vans, gear
General Motors is forming a new business unit to tap the market for delivery vehicles and equipment powered by electricity
12:15PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: US to allow more people to get coronavirus shots
The Trump administration says it will speed up delivery of the shots
11:12AM ( 4 hours ago )
California turns stadiums into COVID-19 vaccination centers
California is transforming baseball stadiums and fairgrounds into mass vaccination sites as the coronavirus surge overwhelms hospitals and sets a deadly new record in the state
10:36AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
The Latest: U.S. launches site to locate antibody treatment
U.S. health officials have created a website to help people find where they can get antibody drugs for COVID-19, medicines that may help prevent serious illness and hospitalization if used early enough after infection occurs
6:38PM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: Connecticut to open first mass vaccine site
Connecticut will open its first mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the University of Connecticut’s football stadium within the next 10 days as the state prepares to administer shots to residents ages 75 and older
6:03PM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Louisiana expands vaccine delivery to elderly
Louisiana is boosting its distribution of coronavirus vaccines to the elderly
5:37PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Teacher killing trial makes detour to Georgia Supreme Court
Georgia’s highest court is weighing a pretrial appeal from a man charged with the 2005 slaying of a high school teacher whose disappearance remained a mystery for more than a decade
3:16PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Irish PM says 'perverse' morality drove unwed mothers' homes
Ireland’s prime minister says the country must “face up to the full truth of our past,” as a long-awaited report recounted the decades of harm done by church-run homes for unmarried women and their babies, where thousands of infants died
3:07PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe
The Associated Press has learned that former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal
3:01PM ( 31 minutes ago )
The Latest: NY Gov. Cuomo expands shots to age 65 and over
Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded the vaccine eligibility requirements in New York to include anyone over the age of 65
3:00PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Trump takes no responsibility for riot, visits Texas
President Donald Trump is taking no responsibility for his part in fomenting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, despite his comments encouraging supporters to march on the Capitol and praise for them while they were still carrying out the assault
2:58PM ( 33 minutes ago )