California to shut down beaches, US toll and job-losses continue to rise



California state could shut down its beaches and public parks even as it takes tentative steps to join other states that are reopening for business by lifting stay-at-home orders that worked so successfully and prevented a full-fledged flare-up of Covid-19 cases after an initial surge.

California and Washington are often cited as model states for how they shut out the virus. But they are now getting ready to reopen as others. Washington has already allowed some businesses to resume and California governor Gavin Newsom has unveiled a broad outline of a four-phase opening.

For now, he is not taking chances and is expected to issue orders Thursday shutting down beaches and some parks after the crowds that descended on them last weekend.

“This virus doesn’t take the weekends off,” Newsom said during his daily Covid-19 briefing. “The only thing that will set us back is people stopping to practice physical distancing and appropriate social distancing. That’s the only thing that’s going to slow down our ability to reopen this economy.”

Many states have reopened in recent days as the number of news Covid-19 cases continued to slow down, as have those for hospitalizations and fatalities. Cumulative totals also continued to look daunting — the number of confirmed infections rose by 27,327 in the last 24 hours to 1.04 million and the toll to went up by 2,612 to 60,999 Thursday.

The toll on the economy and the livelihood of Americans also continued to rise. New data released Thursday showed 3.8 million more people filed for unemployment benefits last week, taking the six-week total of people left jobless by the lockdown ordered by states to combat the epidemic to 30 million.

States now want to remove these restrictions. So does President Donald Trump. He told reporters Wednesday that the federal social-distancing guidelines that expire on Thursday will be “fading out”. He added that the states “getting it going, and we are opening our country again”. Many of those restrictions are now included in the reopening guidelines, public health officials explained.

New York, the epicenter of the American epidemic, is also taking baby steps towards and announced plans to roll out a phased “unpause” from May 15. New cases and fatalities are going down but not as quickly as desired, as Governor Andrew Cuomo has stated repeatedly.

In a sign of continued challenges confronting state, 100 bodies were found piled up in unrefrigerated trucks outside a funeral home in New York city Wednesday. The city has arranged for refrigerated truck to temporarily store bodies to ease the pressure on overwhelmed funeral homes.


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