These States Are Locking Down Again Amid COVID
Record-breaking coronavirus case numbers are forcing a rollback on reopenings.
As one of the most undeniably hectic years in living memory winds down, the coronavirus pandemic continues to ramp up across the U.S. So far, December has seen records broken in the number of new daily cases, hospitalizations, and single-day deaths—all before the final effects of an expected Thanksgiving-created surge are felt. Now, as Hanukkah begins and Christmas approaches, some states are reacting to COVID spikes by locking down again and adding restrictions to businesses and public life.
In a Dec. 6 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Deborah Birx, MD, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, warned that more action from elected officials was necessary to avoid catastrophe. "Every state across this country needs to increase their mitigation and every state needs to be critically informing their state population that the gatherings we saw in Thanksgiving will lead to a surge, it will happen this week and next week," she said. "We cannot go into the holiday season—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa—with the same kind of attitude that: 'Those gatherings don't apply to me.' They apply to everyone if you don't want to lose your grandparents, your aunt."
So, which governors are now heeding Birx's advice? Read on to find out which places are locking back down, and for more on how to stay safe over the holidays, You Shouldn't Be Doing This One Thing With Your Family Now, WHO Warns.
As cases continue to spike in the D.C. area and throughout the commonwealth, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam stepped up the existing restrictions in his state to stop the spread of infections. As of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 14, a new order requires residents to follow a "modified stay-at-home order" from midnight until 5 a.m. daily, cuts off the sale of alcohol at 10 p.m., sets ramped-up face mask requirements, and bans private gatherings of more than 10 people.
"I've put an ungodly amount of people in body bags," Emily Nichole Egan, a coronavirus ICU nurse from Virginia, said in a video appearance during a press conference announcing the new orders. "I understand the sacrifice, and that it's hard to stay home and it's hard to wear a mask and you feel like you can't breathe. But seeing these people die that can't breathe—it starts to take a toll on you." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
In unison with neighboring Virginia, Maryland has continued to ramp up restrictions across the state, with some areas seeing the most strict rollbacks of reopenings since the original lockdowns during springtime. On Dec. 10, Angela D. Alsobrooks, Prince George County Executive, announced that all indoor dining in her jurisdiction would be halted, outdoor dining would be limited to 50 percent capacity, and retail shops and casinos would also be limited to just 25 percent of their legal capacity. Meanwhile, neighboring Anne Arundel County carried over the indoor dining ban while also reducing capacity for shops, places of worship, casinos, and gyms, The Washington Post reported.
At a news conference, Alsobrooks told reporters, "The numbers that we are seeing tell us we are headed in the wrong direction and that we need to take swift and quick actions right now." And for more areas struggling to contain coronavirus, This Surprising State Is Seeing the Worst COVID Surge in the U.S.
As a former global epicenter of the pandemic, New York has gone to great lengths to make sure the novel coronavirus doesn't come roaring back, using region-focused restrictions to pinpoint outbreaks. But as numbers continue to head up in the Empire State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered hospitals to boost bed capacity by 25 percent—otherwise, indoor dining would be banned statewide.
"This health situation has to be addressed. I do think we're going to see restrictions coming and I think other restrictions have to be on the table so we can be ready to address whatever comes," New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio said in a press conference on Dec. 10. "We want people to have their livelihoods. But we've got to stop this surge that we're facing." And for insight from the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci Says These 2 Places Need to Close Right Now.
Despite already having tight restrictions in place since Nov. 15, Washington State is still seeing their case numbers rise. As a result, Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Dec. 8 that he would be extending the current limits by three weeks, carrying them through the end of the year. As a result, indoor dining and gyms will remain closed across the state, and private gatherings of people from different households will stay banned, unless they've properly quarantined or received a negative COVID-19 test result.
"This is because we remain concerned about COVID activity and we still do not have a clear picture of the situation following the Thanksgiving weekend," Inslee told reporters in a press conference announcing the extension. And for more on what the next phase of the pandemic could look like, An FDA Adviser Is "Worried About" This Vaccine Side Effect.