The West Coast of the United States begins to back down. The strong rebound in coronavirus infections in California, which at the start of the pandemic was distinguished by its effectiveness in slowing its progress, has led the populous state to cancel some reopening measures, as well as Oregon.
The alarm at the speed of the spread of the virus in the US, the global focus of the pandemic, is not similar, however, across the country. Its epicentre, Florida, which registered almost 10,000 new infections on Monday, on the contrary, is reluctant to back down in the de-escalation. The concern seems to be mounting at the White House: First Lady Melania Trump posted a photograph wearing the mask yesterday on her Twitter account along with a message imploring Americans to wear it.
“The more precautions we take now, the healthier and safer the country will be in the fall,” says the first lady a few days after her husband first ceded and wore the protective garment in public, tragically becoming the last symbol of the country’s extreme political polarization.
Florida already accumulates as many Covid infections as Italy despite having only a third of its population
In Florida, for example, governor Ron De Santis, a Republican very close to Donald Trump, still refuses to make it mandatory even though the state already accumulates 282,000 cases, about 40,000 more than Italy, for example, despite having only a third of its population. “Right now we’re at the same point we saw in Wuhan six months ago,” Florida epidemiologist Lilian Abbo, a specialist at the University of Miami, warns Florida.
Florida broke its record for infections in a single day on Saturday, 15,299, a figure that the U.S. as a whole took about two months. Although De Santis justifies the uptick in the number of tests they perform, epidemiologists warn that the high rate of positives (15%) indicates that the pandemic is expanding into the southern state. The prevalence is very different in each territory but in 37 of the country’s 50 states, contagions are currently on the rise.
“It is urgent that we all seriously admit that Covid-19 is not going anywhere for now,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. In response to the rapid increase in hospitalizations, on Monday he ordered the shutter to be lowered to bars and numerous businesses that since the end of May had returned to operating indoors.
Disney, which reopened its park in Orlando, Florida this weekend, has cancelled its plan to reactivate its spaces in California. In counties with the highest numbers of infections, where 80% of the population lives, gymnasiums, places of worship, hairdressers and shopping malls must close their doors again. On Sunday, California recorded 8,460 new cases and 72 coronavirus deaths.
The state of Oregon, meanwhile, has reduced the number of people who can gather in enclosed places to 10 and ordered the mask to be worn also in open spaces where social distance cannot be guaranteed. “I have to give the warning signal, we risk getting the Covid out of hand,” warned Governor Kate Brown.