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Much of US scales back on holiday as President Trump plans to go big

President Donald Trump - AP image

President Donald Trump plans to go big in the nation's capital. He's promising a "special evening” in Washington, with a “Salute for America” celebration.

Posted: Jul 4, 2020 8:40 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — As coronavirus cases spike, public health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid large crowds and hold more muted Independence Day celebrations, but subdued is not President Donald Trump's style, and he aimed to go big, promising a “special evening” in Washington that could bring tens of thousands to the National Mall.

Trump's “Salute for America” celebration on Saturday evening was to include a speech from the White House South Lawn that he said would celebrate American heritage, as well as a military flyover over the city and an enormous fireworks display that could pack people downtown.

The president kicked off the holiday weekend by traveling to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota for a fireworks display Friday night near the mountain carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. In his remarks, he accused protesters who have pushed for racial justice of engaging in a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history.”

In a presidential message Saturday on the 244th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Trump acknowledged that “over the past months, the American spirit has undoubtedly been tested by many challenges.”

His participation in big gatherings comes as many communities have decided to scrap fireworks, parades and other holiday traditions. The goal is to try to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, which large gatherings could spur. Confirmed cases are climbing in 40 states, and the U.S. set another record Friday with 52,300 newly reported infections, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

For the Mount Rushmore event, GOP Gov. Kristi Noem, a Trump ally, insisted social distancing wasn’t necessary and masks were optional. Trump spent little time in his Mount Rushmore address reflecting on pandemic, which has killed more than 129,000 Americans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that mass gatherings like the one scheduled for Washington present a high risk for spread of the virus.

Trump’s surgeon general, Jerome Adams, who has stepped up his call for Americans to wear a mask in public, sidestepped when asked during an interview Friday whether he would caution a loved one from attending such large gatherings. “It’s not a yes or no,” Adams told NBC’s “Today Show.” “Every single person has to make up their own mind."

Trump has been aching to see the nation return to normalcy, and has been willing to push the envelope further than many state and big city mayors are willing to go.

Last month, he held his first campaign rally since early March in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Trump is accustomed to jam-packed crowds, but the BOK Center was only about one-third full for the president's first rally of the coronavirus era. Days later, he addressed a packed megachurch for a Students for Trump event in Arizona. Few attendees at either event wore masks.

Interior officials said they would hand out 300,000 face coverings to spectators who gather on the National Mall. Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt said visitors would be encouraged to wear masks and keep a six-foot distance from one another. There was no indication that would be mandatory, despite the recommendations of health officials.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said she didn't have the right to shut down the holiday spectacle because it’s on federal land, warned the federal government about the obvious dangers of such a large crowd. On Friday, she urged the city’s residents to be smart about how they spend the holiday. “Just because someone invites you to a party doesn’t mean you have to go,” Bowser tweeted.

In other holiday weekend developments:

—California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, warned counties that they risked losing state money if they failed to enforce health orders heading into the holiday weekend. He urged residents not to gather with people they don’t live with and to avoid crowds. Fireworks shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and elsewhere in the state were canceled.

—Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D-Ill., said he would not hesitate to close down businesses that don’t abide by capacity requirements, and he encouraged people to avoid large crowds.

—Beach closures in prime locations are a pandemic fallout. Florida’s most populous county, Miami-Dade, was closing down again, imposing a curfew and shuttering the sand. In California, beach closures went from Los Angeles County northward through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. To the south in Orange County, hugely popular beaches such as Huntington and Newport were affected.

—Even with large public festivities scrapped, sales of consumer fireworks have boomed. Some officials are concerned about fires and injuries with more pyrotechnics going off in backyards and at block parties. At Casey’s Fireworks Friday in Columbia, South Carolina, mostly masked shoppers wove through aisles. The shop, like many around the country, has been an unexpected beneficiary as more Americans have decided to put on their own shows. “This whole COVID thing has been really bad all around,” said Forest Casey, a fourth-generation fireworks salesman at the family-owned shop. “But for whatever reason it makes people really want to buy fireworks.”

—Four East Coast cities were to get their own mini-displays of air power before the extensive U.S. military air show over Washington, The “Salute to the Great Cities of the American Revolution” involves flyovers in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

—About 150 preachers, rabbis and imams intended to frame holiday sermons around “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” on the 168th anniversary of that speech by Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The former slave gave his speech at an Independence Day celebration on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. The address challenged the Founding Fathers and the hypocrisy of their ideals with the existence of slavery on American soil.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604608

Reported Deaths: 7642
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1249941780
Ramsey52516897
Dakota46848471
Anoka42782458
Washington27433291
Stearns22559225
St. Louis18142313
Scott17552137
Wright16382149
Olmsted13401102
Sherburne1202495
Carver1067548
Clay826492
Rice8203110
Blue Earth762644
Crow Wing681795
Kandiyohi668185
Chisago620052
Otter Tail586284
Benton582998
Goodhue483974
Douglas475681
Mower470533
Winona461351
Itasca459963
Isanti440164
McLeod430861
Morrison424862
Beltrami407862
Nobles407550
Steele397816
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton353056
Freeborn347133
Pine334923
Nicollet331345
Mille Lacs311854
Brown307940
Le Sueur297326
Cass286232
Todd285633
Meeker263443
Waseca238023
Martin235333
Roseau211221
Wabasha20793
Hubbard196641
Dodge18793
Renville182846
Redwood176539
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163423
Fillmore157610
Faribault154819
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122812
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine115020
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95418
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371146

Reported Deaths: 6053
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58273640
Linn21228339
Scott20310248
Black Hawk16167312
Woodbury15241230
Johnson1462385
Dubuque13512211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11229174
Story1071648
Warren584091
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554095
Sioux517674
Webster516094
Muscatine4884106
Marshall486876
Des Moines467572
Wapello4338122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones301057
Henry294537
Bremer288661
Carroll287152
Boone268634
Crawford268140
Benton259955
Washington257351
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232751
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama212071
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198835
Page194522
Buchanan194133
Cedar192323
Hardin187544
Fayette186743
Wright186040
Hamilton181951
Harrison180073
Clayton171157
Butler166335
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163442
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157136
Allamakee152852
Hancock150334
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133535
Shelby131737
Sac130920
Union130035
Louisa129749
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124917
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113623
Howard105022
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96832
Monroe96431
Unassigned9530
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona83131
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7618
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56318
Wayne54423
Audubon53311
Adams3444
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