(Reuters) – The city of Chicago reimposed some coronavirus restrictions on Monday and the state of Florida reported more than 10,000 new cases for the sixth day in a row, as the pandemic showed few signs of abating in the United States.
In a rare ray of hope, New York state reported the fewest hospitalizations from the coronavirus in four months and New York City entered a new phase of reopening on Monday, but the progress, in the very city and state that were once the epicenter, was eclipsed by the grim news nearly everywhere else.
Metrics for the country have grown worse including a rising number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations along with rates of positive test results. The virus has killed 140,000 people in the United States and infected some 3.7 million, both figures leading the world.
Florida reported 10,347 new cases on Monday, the sixth day in a row the state has announced over 10,000 new infections. Another 92 people died in Florida, increasing the state’s death toll to 5,183.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new restrictions due to take effect on Friday including a ban on indoor service at bars and shutdown of personal services such as shaves and facials that require the removal of masks.
“While we aren’t near the peak of the pandemic from earlier this year, none of us wants to go back there,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
The city of Los Angeles is on the brink of issuing a new stay-at-home order and at least 14 states have reported record hospitalizations so far in July, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Texas.
Meanwhile, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing for schools to reopen in a few weeks and resisting a federal mandate that people wear masks in public, part of what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called an “incompetent” federal government response.
“I’ve said to the president from Day One: This virus does not respond to politics,” Cuomo told a news conference. “The solution is medicine and science.”
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFINGS RESUME
The country remained “totally unprepared,” Cuomo said, as other states lagged in testing, contact tracing, and personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses.
“Their mistake was they listened to the president,” Cuomo said, while also blasting “stupid and reckless” people in his own state who persistently gather in large groups.
On Monday Trump, under fire over his administration’s response to the surging virus, said he would on Tuesday resume holding news briefings on the pandemic after a lengthy hiatus.
White House debate has centered on whether Trump should risk doing daily briefings after he was mocked for musing that people might inject household disinfectants as a way to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
Last Friday Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters she favored a return of the briefings, which she said had bolstered his approval ratings.
New York state, where the virus took hold early this year before spreading to other states, recorded only eight deaths on Sunday while the total number of people hospitalized for the disease fell to 716, the fewest since March 18, Cuomo said.
However a Reuters analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project showed cases rose by more than 5,000 in the past week, the first week-over-week increase since April, breaking a 13-week streak of declines.
New York City entered a new phase on Monday that will allow low-risk outdoor activity, entertainment at 33 percent capacity and professional sports events. But Major League Baseball’s Yankees and Mets will start their seasons in empty New York City ballparks, indoor dining in restaurants is still prohibited, and bars are subject to social distancing rules.