This Is the Worst Thing You Can Do July 4th Weekend, Official Warns
Doing this one thing over the holiday could contribute to a huge spike in cases.
The Fourth of July is a holiday typically celebrated with cookouts, fireworks, lake or beach visits, or other summer activities. However, with coronavirus cases surging across the U.S., health officials are rightfully worried about the impact the holiday weekend could have. Memorial Day celebrations are largely blamed for the recent COVID-19 spikes seen in many states, which may be reason enough to let Independence Day pass you by this year. However, if you're still planning to celebrate the Fourth, there's one main thing experts say you should absolutely avoid: mixing households.
Even small parties have the potential to become super spreader events, where one infected person attends (who may not know that they are) and spreads the virus to a majority of the other people in attendance. According to NPR, a recent report from Whatcom County Health Department in Washington State found that social gatherings and parties where participants weren't wearing face masks were responsible for spreading coronavirus faster than anything else. Associated Press reported last month on a surprise family birthday party in Texas that resulted in 18 of 25 attendees contracting coronavirus from one infected individual.
"We don't want any more closures, but our numbers are going through the roof," said Cameron Kaiser, the public health officer in Riverside County, California, in a June 30 statement. "Please don't mix households, even if you think everyone is healthy, and instead celebrate the holiday with the people you live with. We started seeing more and more cases after Memorial Day, and we can't afford another jump after the Fourth of July."
On June 30, the state of California had its record highest day, reporting 8,158 new cases, according to The New York Times. A report from the Los Angeles Times found that a series of summer rituals where households were mixing, like graduation parties, Father Day's events, and Memorial Day gatherings, were responsible for the current uptick in cases. But even states such as Pennsylvania, which had its peak all the way back in April, are taking cautionary measures to prevent a post-Fourth of July surge. The city of Philadelphia cancelled its live Independence Day fireworks show, which usually draws in thousands of people every year.
"We believe traditional fireworks displays encourage people to gather in close proximity which is not recommended at this time due to potential spread of COVID-19," city government spokesperson Deana Gamble told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Many beaches around the country are closing, too, in order to keep Fourth of July crowds away. Several Florida counties plan to close beaches for the weekend, and Los Angeles County in California has already announced that their beaches will be closed. And while the state of Delaware hasn't made beaches off-limits completely, Gov. John Carney did announce on June 30 that all beach bars will have to close for the weekend, in hopes that it will discourage people from crowding and ignoring social distancing measures.
Though it may be tempting to visit with friends and relatives, experts are urging people to stay in and celebrate with only the people they live with this holiday. "The way to be patriotic this—and only this—holiday is to stay at home," Peter Bielenson, Director of Health Services for Sacramento County, told ABC 10 about this Fourth of July. And for more ways to stay safe, check out The CDC Director Has Issued This Warning About July 4th Weekend.