A Sun Tran employee offers free masks to passengers to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the bus station in downtown Tucson, Arizona, USA, June 20, 2020.
Cheney Orr | Reuters
Governors of Arizona and New Jersey have joined the growing list of state officials who are beginning to back down or pause their reopening plans as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the U.S.
More than 12 states have now paused or reversed their reopening plans as the average number of new cases in the US increased 40% over the past week to approximately 39,750 per day on Monday, according to a seven-day moving average, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
New cases rose 5% or more Monday in 40 U.S. states, based on an average of seven days, and decreased 5% or more in just three states: New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island , and in Washington DC
Arizona, Florida and California are now seeing an average of more than 5,000 new cases per day.
Recent daily spikes in the cases are outpacing the numbers seen in April, when the coronavirus was thought to have peaked in the US, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said Monday.
“We have too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very daunting,” he said in an interview with Dr. Howard Bauchner of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
On Monday, more states backed down or paused their reopening plans as coronavirus cases continue to spread in states across the west and south.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey closed the state’s bars, gyms, movie theaters, and water parks after reopening most businesses in May. He said the state will try to reopen business in 30 days. The drop in cases reported on Monday was probably due to a of state lab partners, the Arizona health department tweeted.
Since then, the state has reported an increase in its positivity rate, or the percentage of total positive tests, from a low of 4.9% in May to 20.1% in June, it said at a news conference. Epidemiologists say this number may indicate how widely the virus is spreading in a community.
“We cannot have the illusion that this virus will go away on its own. Our expectation is that next week the numbers will be worse. It will take several weeks for the mitigation that we have implemented and are implementing to take effect,” Ducey said.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday the state will add additional counties to its “watch list,” indicating they may have to reinstate more stringent measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. The state, which is allowing some counties to move faster to reopen than others, is asking a handful of counties to reconsider the closing bars and reverse the reopens.
“My phone is full of pictures of people taking pictures of some of the bars over the weekend and saying, ‘How could this help with community outreach? It will only make things worse, it won’t improve,'” Newsom said in a press conference. Monday.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Monday that state restaurants will not be allowed to resume meals indoors on Thursday as originally planned due to a growing number of coronavirus cases in other states. Murphy said there is currently no plan to reopen indoor dining under the new plan.
The state is still moving ahead with other planned reopens this Thursday, including casinos, outdoor entertainment centers, indoor recreation facilities, museums, and libraries. He added that some residents and establishments have not adhered to state guidelines on social distancing and wearing of masks, which has caused additional problems with the reopening.
“Unfortunately, the national situation compounded by instances of silly behavior here in the home forces us to pause at the start of meals indoors for the foreseeable future,” Murphy said.
Restaurants in New York City cannot reopen their indoor dining sections as originally planned for July 6, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. A final decision will be made Wednesday after Cuomo consults with health officials and local business owners, he said.
Officials are concerned about the increasing number of cases in the states that allowed restaurants and bars to reopen indoor dining, and the city has not done adequate work to enforce social distancing protocols during previous reopens, he said.
“Our reopens have worked very well. We are not going backwards; we are going forward,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “Many other states have had to back down.”