After Memorial Day weekend celebrations contributed to record-breaking numbers of new COVID-19 infections, many states are closing down over July 4

By Julie Mazziotta
July 01, 2020 04:07 PM
Advertisement
Fireworks illuminate the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Calla Kessler/The Washington Post via Getty

As new coronavirus infections continue to soar in more than half of the country, health officials are urging Americans to stay home during the July 4 holiday.

Though the holiday is usually celebrated with big barbeques, trips to the beach and fireworks displays, politicians and health experts say that the risk of spreading COVID-19 is too high for normal activities this year.

“The safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home,” the Oregon Health Authority advised in a press release.

The Independence Day holiday comes as the U.S. hit another new high in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with 48,365 new infections, far surpassing the previous record set June 26 of 45,498. Eight states also set single-day records of new cases — California, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho and Alaska, according to The New York Times’ database.

Epidemiologists have said that the new infections likely began on Memorial Day weekend, when Americans packed back into newly reopened bars and pools in several states.

In an effort to avoid another spike in cases while they are already trending upwards, many states have canceled their usual fireworks displays and closed down beaches. In New York City, the annual Macy’s fireworks are ongoing throughout the week at undisclosed times to stop people from gathering outside. In Massachusetts, towns can go through with their fireworks displays as planned, but they must be in remote spots and viewed from home. And the usual parades are canceled, according to Boston.com.

In Los Angeles County, all fireworks displays are banned and the beaches are closed. California set a record high of 8,158 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

Miami has also shut down their beaches over the holiday weekend. On Saturday, Florida recorded 9,585 new COVID-19 cases, and Miami-Dade County has more than 1,200 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported.

Health officials in Riverside County, California asked people to stay at home, as 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.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.