States resist restrictions

PHOENIX – As the United States goes through the deadliest phase yet of the coronavirus pandemic, governors and local officials in heavily affected parts of the country show little willingness to impose new restrictions on businesses to contain the spread.

And, unlike in 2020, when the quarantine debate often divided parties, now both Democrats and Republicans are signaling their opposition to forced closures and other measures.

Some have expressed fear that the severe economic damage caused by the crisis will worsen. Others see little patience among the electorate to impose further restrictions 10 months after the crisis began. And a few more seem to be more focused on the distribution of vaccines, something that would eventually end the threat.

The most notable change in tone was that of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who imposed a severe quarantine last spring, when the state became the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.

“We just can’t stay closed until the vaccine reaches critical mass. The cost is too high. We won’t have anything left to open,” Cuomo said this week when infections in the state were confirmed to have risen to an average of 16,000 per day. and deaths reached approximately 170 per day.

Theaters remain closed and you can’t eat inside restaurants in New York City, but Cuomo said Tuesday that if a rapid testing system for the virus could be developed, it would allow those sectors to return more safely.

In Arizona, where the pandemic is wreaking havoc, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has been adamant in his opposition to the mandatory use of a face mask at the state level or the closure of bars, gyms and restaurants, despite repeated requests from officials of the hospitals to take such measures.

“If we are all in this together, then we have to understand that, for many families, quarantine does not mean inconvenience; it means catastrophe,” Ducey said.

Governors in other hotspots, such as Texas, have expressed similar views, while other states relax restrictions even as the death toll in the United States is close to 380,000 and cases exceed 22.7 million. The daily average of deaths at the national level is above 3,200.

Minnesota has allowed people to eat at restaurants again this week, and Michigan will do the same on Friday. Nevada’s rules expire Friday.

Even in states with stricter measures in place, like California, people flout the rules. On Monday, when intensive care units in Southern California were crammed with patients, people flocked to San Diego beaches to watch this week’s high surf, many less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) away. between them and without masks.

Other Americans have also ignored the rules. Tourists from the United States spent Christmas and New Years on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, while thousands of football fans from the University of Alabama packed bars Monday night to celebrate the national championship.

More than 9.3 million Americans have received the first dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a slow release for a campaign that will have to inoculate probably 85% of the population, or close to 300 million people, to defeat the virus.

On Tuesday, the administration of President Donald Trump announced plans to speed up vaccination by distributing nearly twice as many vaccines, rather than keeping large quantities in reserve to ensure people get the second dose on time. The practice of storing doses was due to fears of production delays, but officials say they are now confident there will be supplies.

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