Sunday, February 5, 2023

U.S. tops 130K virus deaths; states halt reopening

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The number of U.S. coronavirus deaths exceeded 130,000 on Monday, following a surge of new cases that has put President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis under the microscope. This report produced by Chris Dignam.

As Americans continued to gather in crowds in cities and counties across the country despite surging new coronavirus cases, the mayor of Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county, issued an emergency order on Monday, shutting down on-site dining at restaurants again as well as party venues, gyms and fitness centers.

The order came despite reassurances from Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who took a page out of President Donald Trump’s playbook, attributing the spike in new cases to more testing.

“Some of these things we’ve seen over the last 8 days – I know the media will say, ‘oh, this record case’ – it’s basically been the same. I mean, yeah, when we do 85,000 tests, we’re gonna have more. If we do 40,000 tests, we’re going to have less positives.”

In Texas, some mayors and other local leaders were also considering a new round of stay-at-home orders, citing their own soaring case numbers and packed hospitals.

Texas reported a record high of COVID-19-related hospitalizations on Monday, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the largest city in the state was getting close to hospital bed capacity.

“The more the community spread, the more people go to the hospital, the more they go to the ICU.”

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday that cases were surging in his state as well.

“That seven-day average has begun to climb.”

The Democratic governor added more counties to his coronavirus watch list, requiring a second shutdown of restaurants and indoor businesses in those areas.

“When I last left you on Thursday, there were 19 counties on that list. Today, we have 23 counties.”

Even as cases have surged, Trump has not embraced face masks or social distancing measures at his campaign events. And during a speech at the White House on Saturday, Trump asserted without providing evidence that 99% of U.S. coronavirus cases were “totally harmless.”

“Just wear a mask.”

On Monday, New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo accused the president of “enabling” the spread of the virus.

“Mr. President, don’t be a co-conspirator of COVID.”

The United States crossed 130,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, according to a Reuters.

So far, daily deaths have not spiked with the latest swell of cases. But health experts say it could still happen a few weeks down the line.

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