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Experts worry US virus restrictions relaxed or violated

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PROVIDENCE, the State of RI and local authorities in the United States are rescinding social distancing rules again after an abortive effort over the summer to allow bars, restaurants and gyms to open. Fans gather without a mask during football matches. President Donald Trump holds crowded indoor gatherings.

While some Americans may view these things as a welcome step back to normal, public health experts warn the United States is once again bracing for failure.

People are getting very cavalier about the pandemic, “said Mark Rupp, professor and chief of infectious diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The governor of Nebraska lifted almost all restrictions in his states on Monday, even with new coronavirus cases on the rise.

I think this sets us up for further transmission and more people getting sick and unfortunately more people dying, ”Rupp said.

The virus is responsible for more than 6.5 million confirmed infections and 195,000 deaths in the United States, by far the highest total of any country, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

As the number of cases has risen from an average peak of 67,000 new infections per day at the end of July to around 36,000 now, the numbers remain incredibly high. Deaths run at around 750 a day, up from a high of over 2,200 in late April.

In recent days, Mississippi has allowed restaurants to increase their customer capacity to 75%. New Jersey has reopened indoor gyms and restaurants, but with limited capacity. The governor of Michigans allowed gymnasiums to reopen and organized sports to resume. Pinellas County County Commissioners in Florida are expected to discuss whether to repeal their mask ordinance on Thursday.

Public health experts have noted that it is safe to resume certain activities in communities with low infection levels.

The country’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, appeared by video during Vermont Governor Phil Scotts’ virus briefing on Tuesday and praised the state’s response and its measures to safely reopen . He attributed this to Vermont’s emphasis on wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and taking other simple precautions.

But elsewhere, experts say, the number of cases is too high to resume higher-risk activities, such as going to bars, gyms, theaters and stadiums, participating in close contact sports, or eating out. .

In most communities in Florida, bars were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity on Monday, while maintaining certain precautions. But Florida’s three largest counties, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, are keeping their bars closed due to the high number of cases.

Even in places where drinking establishments have been given permission to reopen, some owners and customers are hesitant.

At the Leon Pub, a smoky bar a mile down the road from Floridas’ Capitol in Tallahassee, the Monday night crowd was sparse, as it has been for much of the long oppressive summer.

These are crickets and tumbleweeds, said bartender Lauren Bryant.

Among the few were Allie Preston and her husband. We were locked up for a while. It was good to have normality, she said.

Florida bars were closed on St. Patrick’s Day in March, allowed to reopen in June, then ordered to close again about two weeks later, as cases of the virus increased. The Leon Pub was allowed to reopen in July because it had a restaurant license.

Jim Smith. owner of Poor Pauls Pourhouse in Tallahassee, intends to keep his accommodation closed until the outbreak is over.

I miss going to work every day. I miss seeing the customers and the employees, ”he said. We have to get this thing under control.

It is not just government officials who are abandoning the restrictions. In Milwaukee, the Roman Catholic Archbishop said he would no longer excuse people from worship in person unless they are sick or caring for someone who is sick. Meanwhile, cases in Wisconsin are on the rise.

Some local officials are cracking down on the rise in cases.

In Wichita, Kansas, health officials made bar curfews and masks mandatory. In Framingham, Massachusetts, officials said they have started issuing fines of $ 500 on landowners who break rules on gatherings and wearing masks.

Public health experts said they feared seeing a trend: A drop in cases is causing authorities and ordinary Americans to relax measures to stay safe, and infections and deaths are making a comeback.

Please you did so well, don’t let your guard down, Fauci said at a press conference during the video call with the Vermont governor. Because if we do, we’re going to see surges that are going to bring us back to where we were months ago.

Calvan reported from Tallahassee, Florida, Ring reported from Stowe, Vermont. Associated Press reporters from across the United States contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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