Health officials are urging Americans to celebrate the holiday at home to avoid further surges in COVID-19 cases

By Benjamin VanHoose
July 03, 2020 09:43 AM
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People eat in the outdoor dining area of a restaurant on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida, on June 24.
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty

The tally of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise in the United States leading into the Fourth of July weekend.

Based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. had more than 52,000 new confirmed infections on Thursday, a new daily high, according to CNN. The spike in cases topped Wednesday's daily record of 51,174.

The outlet also reported that numbers are rising in 36 states across the country, including California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina. As of Friday, there have been more than 2,758,800 cases of COVID-19 and at least 128,800 deaths in the U.S., according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Since many states saw a surge in infections following Memorial Day gatherings in May, health officials are urging people to be safe while celebrating Independence Day this weekend by staying home and practicing social distancing. “The safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home,” the Oregon Health Authority advised in a press release.

Health officials in Riverside County, California, also asked people to stay home, warning them they could be asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

“Please don’t mix households, even if you think everyone is healthy, and instead celebrate the holiday with the people you live with,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, said, according to the Times. “We started seeing more and more cases after Memorial Day, and we can’t afford another jump after the Fourth of July.”

People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26.
SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty

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In an effort to contain the virus during the holiday weekend, Los Angeles County announced that its beaches will remain closed, joining several Florida counties that have done the same.

Public beaches, piers, public beach parking lots, beach bike paths and beach access points will close at midnight Friday and reopen Monday at 5 a.m., county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced in a statement released Tuesday.

The closure was a “difficult decision to make,” she said, but important, as the potential for large gatherings is “a recipe for increased transmission of COVID-19.”

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On Tuesday, before a Senate committee, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that congregating inside at bars is "bad news" and called on Americans to "stop that right now."

Fauci cited the dramatic rise in positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. He stressed that people could transmit COVID-19 whether or not they ever feel ill.

"I think we need to emphasize the responsibility that we have both as individuals and as part of a societal effort to end the epidemic that we all have to play a part in that," Fauci said.

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