Some celebrated July 4 virtually, while others crowded beaches despite the increase in Covid-19

Parts of the country marked a very different Independence Day this year, with many virtual or canceled celebrations amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

A crowd of people looking at a colorful umbrella: revelers enjoy the beach at Coney Island, Saturday, July 4, 2020, in the Brooklyn district of New York.  (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

© John Minchillo / AP
Revelers enjoy the beach at Coney Island on Saturday, July 4, 2020, in the Brooklyn district of New York. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

The changes followed the pleas of health officials warning the Christmas crowds, and crowded gatherings like those the United States witnessed over Memorial Day weekend are likely to lead to further spikes in coronavirus cases, in amid an already devastating crisis across the country.


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Already, nearly half of US states halted their reopening plans as new coronavirus cases rose to record numbers in recent weeks. City and state leaders attributed some of that increase to youth group meetings.

At least 19 states now have masking mandates to help slow the spread of the virus, which occurs when new research suggests that a new form of the virus has spread from Europe to the U.S., a mutation that causes coronavirus is more likely to infect people, but it does not make patients sicker than previous variations.

These are the states that require masks.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now projecting that the country will see nearly 148,000 coronavirus deaths by the end of the month. So far, at least 129,676 Americans have died and more than 2.8 million have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.

And while many cities have taken measured approaches to celebrating July 4, images emerging from the holiday weekend show that not everyone takes the warnings seriously.

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Fourth of July crowds

Crowds flocked to the shores of Virginia Beach on Saturday, even after the city canceled its holiday fireworks display to “help keep Virginia Beach safe from the coronavirus pandemic.” WAVY, a CNN affiliate, reported that municipal authorities warned residents of additional traffic due to the holiday, adding that they anticipated that tens of thousands of people would visit Virginia Beach.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware saw similar scenes when beach lovers chose to celebrate Saturday by the water. Earlier this week, the state governor announced that Delaware beach bars would be closed for the holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, in California, where many beaches in the southern part of the state closed during the holiday weekend, crowds on San Diego’s beaches recalled years past. KSWB, a CNN affiliate, reported that many were not socially estranged or wearing masks.

“It seems pretty regular for July 4 with a lot of people,” Marine Safety Lt. Rich Stropky told the branch.

Elsewhere in the country, crowds gathered to continue protests that have been ongoing for more than a month across the United States. In Baltimore, a witness said at least 300 people gathered around a Christopher Columbus statue before knocking it down and throwing it in the water. In New York, more than 1,000 protesters marched on the Brooklyn Bridge as part of the Unite New York Rally and March 4 of July, police said.

Masks and social distancing were also features that were absent from the July 4 celebration at the White House. The tables in the south garden of the White House were somewhat separated, with approximately six chairs per table.

And as people tried to beat the July heat, many congregated in the shaded areas of space, without distancing themselves at all.

Record 34-state increase in new cases

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in 34 states in the past week, with 12 registering an increase of more than 50%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Three states, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Vermont, report a decrease in cases.

These are the states where cases are on the rise: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana , Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Cases are constant in 13 states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Track the virus here

Florida sets historical record

Florida set an all-time record for most coronavirus cases in a single day on Saturday, with a total of 11,458 new cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state has now surpassed New York’s previous single-day high of 11,434, which was recorded in mid-April.

Florida reported 18 deaths on Saturday.

Despite the rapid increase in cases and warnings from officials that Florida may be the nation’s new epicenter, the governor has said he does not plan to return to the reopening measures.

In Texas, there were 8,258 new cases of Covid-19, according to the latest data released by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). That marks the second-highest number of reported cases in a day from the state. The previous record was set on July 1, when 9,308 new cases were reported.

Hospitals in at least two Texas counties have reached full capacity.

In Starr County, at least two patients had to be transferred out of the area to receive treatment.

“Local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and no more beds are available. I urge all of our residents to take shelter on the spot, cover their faces, practice social distancing and AVOID MEETINGS,” said Judge Eloy Vera.

In Hidalgo County, Judge Richard Cortez asked residents to shelter in place and “only call 911 if absolutely necessary.”

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