Will long Labor Day weekend mean another coronavirus spike?

Dr. Anthony Fauci. AP image.

Americans are heading into Labor Day weekend amid warnings from public health experts that backyard parties, crowded bars and other gatherings could cause the coronavirus to come surging back.

Posted: Sep 4, 2020 2:27 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Americans headed into Labor Day weekend — the unofficial end to the Lost Summer of 2020 — amid warnings from public health experts that backyard parties, crowded bars and other gatherings could cause the coronavirus to come surging back.

“I look upon the Labor Day weekend really as a critical point," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert. "Are we going to go in the right direction and continue the momentum downward, or are we going to have to step back a bit as we start another surge?”

The rise in infections, deaths and hospitalizations over the summer, primarily in the South and West, was blamed in part on Americans behaving heedlessly over Memorial Day and July Fourth.

The landscape has improved in recent weeks, with the numbers headed in the right direction in hard-hit states like Florida, Arizona and Texas, but there are certain risk factors that could combine with Labor Day: Children are going back to school, university campuses are seeing soaring case counts, college football is starting, more businesses are open, and flu season is around the corner.

And a few states are heading into the holiday with less room in hospitals than they had over Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Alabama, for example, had about 800 people hospitalized with the virus on July 1. This week, it has just under 1,000.

More beaches will be open on Labor Day than on Memorial Day, but Fauci said that is not cause in itself for concern, as long as people keep their distance.

“I would rather see someone on a beach, being physically separated enough, than someone crowded in an indoor bar,” he said.

Americans, cooped up for months, appeared more than ready to venture out and socialize — though with some precautions.

In New York City, once of the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., Jennifer Bolstad of Brooklyn picked up the keys to a rented minivan with plans to drive with her two children to Maryland this weekend to visit family she hasn’t seen in a year.

“I monitored the quarantine list pathologically, and they are finally a place I can visit,” she said, referring to the list of states that New York has advised are safe to travel to. “I think a lot of people are going stir-crazy and are going somewhere this weekend and possibly not be as cautious as they should about not bringing their germs back with them.”

In Cicero, Indiana, 40-year-old Matt McInnis planned to continue with tradition by getting together with about 15 neighborhood friends for a barbecue. And forget wearing masks.

“With the picnic being outdoors, we feel that we can space enough, and with the fresh air that we are going to be safe with it being outdoors and in the wide open,” McInnis said. He said they won’t be asking the eight children at the picnic to socially distance either.

Dawn Love of Bolton, Connecticut, decided to host an outdoor breakfast Saturday for her running group, The Crazy Legs, at her cottage on a lake. The 20 members normally run the local roads together every weekend but haven't seen each other since March.

Love, 62, said she expects just a few people to show up, with some deciding it was still too risky and begging off.

“Everyone is bringing their own breakfast, their own beverage and a mask," she said. "We’re going to meet and have the chairs 6 feet apart. Wearing the mask will depend on the comfort level with the person you’re talking to. I have a bathroom inside the cottage, with paper towels and a basket, so there is no shared towels.”

The gathering comes as governors throughout the Northeast discouraged people from traveling out of state this weekend. Visitors from 33 states and territories must quarantine for 14 days after arriving in New Jersey, New York or Connecticut.

The outbreak is blamed for about 187,000 deaths and almost 6.2 million confirmed infections in the U.S., by far the highest totals in the world. Cases of COVID-19, which spiked from about 20,000 per day to around 70,000 during the summertime surge in the South, are now down to about 40,000.

Dr. Albert Ko, a Yale University epidemiologist, said he is concerned about students heading back to school across the nation next week after coming back from holiday travel and a weekend of social gatherings.

“Any transmission events that happen here could be amplified unless we’re careful about it,” Ko said. “Whether it’s going to be a perfect storm, l don’t think so. People are aware of the risk, and people have been socially distancing. But this is certainly a concern.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 126591

Reported Deaths: 2334
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin32743974
Ramsey13510352
Dakota9389136
Anoka8216150
Stearns548540
Washington534568
Scott323434
Olmsted312529
St. Louis273865
Wright231414
Nobles217416
Clay209343
Blue Earth19797
Carver17147
Kandiyohi16004
Rice15869
Sherburne158321
Mower149415
Winona120918
Lyon9336
Crow Wing92021
Waseca9189
Chisago8902
Benton8625
Beltrami8137
Otter Tail7836
Todd7415
Steele7332
Nicollet68917
Itasca68817
Freeborn6474
Morrison6438
Douglas6243
Martin59916
Le Sueur5915
McLeod5734
Watonwan5724
Goodhue52911
Polk5274
Pine5160
Becker5053
Isanti5044
Chippewa4043
Carlton3921
Dodge3700
Mille Lacs36411
Hubbard3352
Wabasha3320
Pipestone33016
Cass3285
Meeker3123
Brown3073
Rock3041
Yellow Medicine2685
Cottonwood2640
Murray2583
Redwood25111
Fillmore2410
Sibley2403
Renville23311
Faribault2140
Roseau2110
Jackson2011
Wadena2011
Unassigned19553
Swift1921
Kanabec19110
Houston1831
Lincoln1710
Pennington1701
Stevens1691
Koochiching1634
Aitkin1572
Pope1480
Big Stone1290
Lac qui Parle1263
Wilkin1264
Lake1080
Mahnomen1011
Norman1010
Grant904
Marshall901
Clearwater880
Red Lake612
Traverse540
Lake of the Woods431
Kittson330
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 109660

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18245283
Woodbury689694
Johnson568330
Black Hawk530098
Linn5173128
Dubuque479754
Scott413437
Story389818
Dallas333744
Pottawattamie303244
Sioux231714
Buena Vista221312
Marshall194736
Webster174014
Plymouth157126
Wapello148362
Clinton138226
Muscatine136958
Crawford132412
Des Moines12819
Cerro Gordo127823
Warren11716
Carroll105210
Jasper103634
Henry9995
Marion94810
Tama91137
Lee89810
Delaware7099
Dickinson7017
Wright6981
Boone6869
Mahaska64024
Bremer6299
Washington61811
Harrison5928
Jackson5463
Benton5291
Lyon5257
Clay5014
Louisa49815
Hamilton4543
Winneshiek4519
Winnebago44718
Hardin4445
Kossuth4430
Poweshiek43911
Floyd41911
Jones4173
Emmet41217
Cedar4115
Buchanan4054
Iowa3858
Cherokee3762
Franklin37518
Guthrie37415
Sac3724
Page3680
Clayton3583
Butler3502
Mills3501
Shelby3501
Fayette3483
Cass3452
Madison3442
Allamakee3358
Chickasaw3301
Clarke3193
Humboldt3003
Palo Alto2932
Hancock2924
Grundy2855
Calhoun2784
Howard2589
Osceola2540
Monroe24911
Mitchell2360
Monona2331
Taylor2252
Union2174
Pocahontas2142
Jefferson2101
Appanoose2093
Lucas1916
Fremont1861
Ida1812
Greene1800
Van Buren1642
Davis1624
Montgomery1595
Adair1471
Keokuk1451
Decatur1400
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