In Louisiana, officials reported more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases Sunday — 99% of which were spread through the community and more than a third of which were in people aged 29 or younger, officials said. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a mask mandate will go into effect Monday morning following an uptick in cases. Many of those new cases are being traced to gatherings including informal backyard get-togethers, the governor said.
Bars will also be closed for on-site alcohol consumption — after at least 36 outbreaks and more than 400 cases were traced back to bars in the state.
At least 36 states now have some type of mask requirement order in place, and more than half of US states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans in efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which some experts have said is now out of control.
That’s if “we can get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings, practicing at least six feet of social distancing, doing the things we know are effective,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation.
‘This thing is just about everywhere’
At least 35 states are seeing a rise in new cases compared to the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Across the country, health officials are sounding the alarm over the number of infected patients seeking medical care.
In Miami Beach, hospitals are reaching full capacity, the mayor told CNN Sunday night.
“We’re going to have to start moving regular beds into ICU beds. We’re clearly being strained at this point,” Mayor Dan Gelber said. “There’s a total disconnect between what is happening and being said out of Washington and even Tallahassee and what is happening in some of these communities right here.”
Across the state, there are more than 7,500 patients hospitalized with the virus, state data showed Sunday. In Florida’s Orange County, where Disney World reopened over the weekend, more than 540 patients were in hospitals.
In a plea for residents to do their part, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the virus was spreading in the community and could drive the death toll much higher.
“What we need to do is drive that positivity rate down, so we don’t get to the point where we are overtaxing our health system in Miami-Dade County, and then we have needless deaths.”
In Los Angeles County, health officials reported more than 3,300 new cases Sunday — the second highest daily case count in the last week. There are nearly 2,100 people hospitalized, a number “substantially higher” than hospitalizations a month ago, officials said.
And in Phoenix, the mayor told CNN healthcare professionals are reporting they are “already tired” and worried about additional strains on hospitals stemming from the July 4 holiday, even as the city is already seeing record-breaking ventilator usage.
In efforts to prevent further spread, Mayor Kate Gallego said she’s joined other leaders across the state to urge the governor to expand safety precautions in response to the virus.
Are children safe to return to class?
Many parts of the country remain torn about what the right way forward is, especially when it comes to schools.
Educators throughout the country have voiced strong opposition to students returning to school amid a surge of cases nationwide, but leaders including the president and education secretary have said getting children back in class is a priority.
“Kids need to be back in school, and school leaders across the country need to be making plans to do just that,” she said. “There is going to be the exception to the rule. But the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall. And where there are little flare-ups or hotspots, that can be dealt with on a school-by-school or a case-by-case basis.”
“We’re committed to having in-classroom instruction next year,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “But we know we have to have a blended environment of options because it’s going to be a challenge if there’s even a limited amount of community spread.”
While local leaders across the US have announced adjustments to school schedules, most governors have stopped short of announcing statewide changes or requirements.
CNN’s Hollie Silverman, Artemis Moshtaghian, Stella Chan, Kay Jones and Mitch McCluskey contributed to this report.