New York has moved to tighten restrictions on social gatherings as a wave of Covid-19 in the US has led to record hospital admissions and sparked fears of a resurgent wave of infections heading for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Meetings inside private homes should be limited to 10 people from Friday night, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday. The state had allowed gatherings of up to 50 people.
Restaurants, bars, and other licensed businesses must close dinner service at 10 PM every night, after which time they are limited to sidewalk pickups. The curfew, which starts on Friday, also applies to gyms.
The rules come as New York confirmed 4,820 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest number since April, when it was hit hard by the first wave of the pandemic. While the city has since managed to bend the curve of new cases down, that trend has started to reverse, with the rate of infections accelerating from October to November.
Wednesday’s order aims to “stop the spread in response to rising COVID numbers,” the Democratic governor tweeted. “COVID is getting worse by the day. Everywhere in the country. The fall rise is here. “
Bill de Blasio, the Democratic Mayor of New York City, warned earlier this week that the city was ‘dangerously close’ to a second wave of business and urged New Yorkers to adhere to social distancing and other security measures to ensure a Avoid new jump that would have limitations.
The neighboring state of New Jersey previously announced a similar curfew for indoor dining from 10pm on Thursday as it struggles with its own turnout.
The steps come as the US addresses new cases of coronavirus at record speed across all regions. On Wednesday, there were 144,270 new cases across the country, marking the eighth day that the increase has passed 100,000 and the total number of cases since the pandemic has pushed past 10.2 million.
As the number of cases has increased with cooler weather across the country, so have hospitalizations. Hospital admissions for the coronavirus rose to a record 65,368, up from 61,964 on Tuesday, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project – greater than the peak in April, when the disease hit the northeastern US.
Texas, the second most populous state in the US, has seen rapid growth since June as part of a jump that hit it, along with other solar belt states of Florida, Arizona and California. On Wednesday, it exceeded a total of 1 million infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than any other US state and many individual countries.
Geographically, the latest rise in the number of cases has not been spared, with cases showing an upward trend in each region. According to data from the Covid Tracking Project, multiple states reported record one-day recordings this week.
In the Midwest, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine warned that the state could close restaurants, bars, and gyms if the current spike doesn’t slow down in cases. “This wave is much more intense, more widespread and more dangerous,” he said.
To the west, Utah has declared a state of emergency and imposed a statewide mask mandate, citing overcrowded hospitals. Gary Herbert, the state’s Republican governor, called the situation “dire and untenable.”
Government officials are especially concerned about the prospect of the disease spreading even faster as Thanksgiving approaches, and Americans are being forced to rethink their plans to travel and get together with family members to celebrate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidelines calling for celebrations to be held virtually or at limited in-person gatherings with members of the same household.
Anthony Fauci, one of the most prominent members of the White House’s coronavirus task force, underscored those concerns during an interview at the FT Live Global Pharmaceutical Summit on Wednesday, warning people to be cautious about traveling and socializing if they had vulnerable family members .
The 79-year-old doctor said his daughters did not come home because they wanted to protect him. “As much as you like to say you’re older, actually I am,” he said. “We don’t want to close Thanksgiving, but we’re asking people to consider the benefits of a large family gathering.”
Additional reporting by Hannah Kuchler