Arizona rolls back reopening as coronavirus cases grow in majority of U.S. states

Arizona rolls back reopening as coronavirus cases grow in majority of U.S. states


A Sun Tran employee offers free masks to passengers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the downtown bus station in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., June 20, 2020.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

Governors in Arizona and New Jersey have joined the growing list of state officials beginning to roll back or pause their reopening plans as coronavirus cases continue to climb across the U.S.

More than 12 states have now paused or rolled back their reopening plans as average new cases in the U.S. jumped 40% over the past week to about 39,750 per day on Monday, based on a seven-day moving average, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

New cases rose Monday by 5% or more in 40 states across the U.S., based on a seven-day average, and declined by 5% or more in just three states: New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island, and in Washington D.C. 

Arizona, Florida and California are now seeing an average of more than 5,000 new cases a day. 

The recent daily spikes in cases are outpacing the numbers seen in April when the coronavirus was thought to have peaked in the U.S. The coronavirus is now spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the country to bring it under control, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

“We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging,” she said in an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Dr. Howard Bauchner.

On Monday, more states rolled back or paused their reopening plans as coronavirus cases continue to spread in states across the West and South.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey shuttered the state’s bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks after reopening most businesses in May. He said the state will try to reopen the businesses in 30 days. The drop in cases reported on Monday was likely due to a  from the state’s lab partners, Arizona’s department of health tweeted. 

The state has since reported a surge in its positivity rate, or the percentage of total tests that are positive, from a low of 4.9% in May to 20.1% in June, he said at a press briefing. Epidemiologists say this number can indicate how broadly the virus is spreading throughout a community. 

“We can’t be under any illusion that this virus is going to go away on its own. Our expectation is that next week out numbers will be worse. It will take several weeks for the mitigation that we have put in place and are putting in place to take effect,” Ducey said. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state will add additional counties to its “watch list,” indicating that they may have to reinstate harsher measures to slow the spread of Covid-19. The state, which is allowing some counties to move faster into reopening than others, is asking a handful of counties to reconsider closing bars and reverse reopenings. 

“My phone is filled with images of people taking photos of some of the bars over the weekend and saying, ‘How could this help with community spread? It’s only going to make things worse, not better,’” Newsom said at a press briefing Monday. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that the state’s restaurants won’t be allowed to resume indoor dining on Thursday as originally planned due to a growing number of coronavirus cases in other states. Murphy said there’s currently no plan to reopen indoor dining under the new plan. 

The state is still moving ahead with other planned reopenings this Thursday, including casinos, outdoor amusement centers, indoor recreational facilities, museums and libraries. He added that some residents and establishments haven’t been adhering to the state’s guidelines on socials distancing and mask wearing, causing additional problems with reopening. 

“Unfortunately the national situation compounded by instances of knucklehead behavior here at home are requiring us to hit pause on the start of indoor dining for the foreseeable future,” Murphy said.

Restaurants in New York City may not be allowed to reopen their indoor dining sections as originally planned for July 6, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A final decision will be made Wednesday after Cuomo consults with health officials and local business owners, he said. 

Officials are concerned about the growing number of cases in states that allowed restaurants and bars to reopen indoor dining, and the city has not done an adequate job enforcing social distancing protocols during previous reopenings, he said. 

“Our reopenings have worked very well. We’re not going backwards; we’re going forwards,” Cuomo said a press briefing. “A lot of other states have actually had to go backwards.”


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