Americans pass pandemic holiday in parks as death toll nears 100000

25 May, 2020

Americans sunbathed on beaches, fished from boats and strolled on boardwalks this holiday weekend, but the occasional person wearing a mask was a constant reminder that the world is still battling the coronavirus pandemic.

The Memorial Day weekend that signals the start of the U.S. summer is normally a time when cemeteries across the nation fill with American flags and ceremonies to remember those who died in U.S. wars. This year the holiday week is when the U.S. death from COVID-19 is expected to exceed 100,000.

The New York Times filled its entire front page with the names and selected details of 1,000 victims on Sunday to try to capture the humanity of the lives lost.

All 50 states have relaxed coronavirus restrictions to some degree. In some states, like Illinois and New York, restaurants are still closed to in-person dining and hair salons remain shuttered. In many southern states, most businesses are open, with restrictions on capacity.

Last week, 11 states reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases, including Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Maryland, Maine, Nevada, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally. It is not clear if the cases are rising from more testing or a second wave of infections. Total U.S. cases are over 1.6 million, the highest in the world.

A plea by health officials and many state governors to wear masks in stores and in public is being met with protest and resistance from some Americans. Social media is filled with videos of businesses turning away a few angry customers who refuse to cover their mouths and noses.

Some beaches were crowded during the weekend, especially in the Southern gulf states, and videos posted on social media showed parties with people packed elbow-to-elbow.

But it appeared that Americans were largely adhering to health experts’ warnings on maintaining social distancing.


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