UNION CITY, N.J. (NewsNation Now) — The United States passed 9 million COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Nearly 230,000 Americans have died since the pandemic began. Now, a fall surge in infections has the number of cases rising in all but three states.
The governors of New York and New Jersey are asking residents to take the proper precautions, wearing masks, maintaining social distance and avoiding unnecessary holiday travel.
New Jersey topped 2,000 daily infections Friday for the first time since early May.
“2,089 positive cases of COVID in New Jersey today,” Gov. Phil Murphy told reporters. “Seven fatalities. Over a thousand people in our hospitals.”
Across the Hudson, New York City hospitals are remobilizing to take in the next round of patients — but this time, front-line health care workers are going in better prepared.
“We know that the virus is out there,” said NYC Health Senior Vice President Eric Wei. “People are taking precautions, especially New Yorkers. Look around- everyone’s wearing masks. People are social distancing.”
Despite the science, in some parts of the country, wearing masks is still meeting with strong opposition.
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In Salt Lake City, mask-less protesters carrying American flags demonstrated outside the home of the state’s chief epidemiologist, even as the state recorded a record single-day COVID-19 increase.
“It’s scary and wrong,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, “That somebody would feel comfortable sharing my personal information. It’s taken a big toll on my family and myself.”
Elsewhere, restaurant owners are rebelling, fighting back against state orders to shut down. New Athens, Illinois bar-owner Karla Blades says she’s been visited by police twice, but refuses to shut down in the face of occupancy rules she considers arbitrary.
“First it was 10 people,” she told NewsNation. “Then it was 50, then it was back to 10. Nobody really knows what to do.”
Officials say while the rules may shift with the COVID numbers, they’re very clear, and designed to flatten the curve. There seems little doubt that large gatherings held by those who choose to ignore state mandates are causing the current spike in infection rates.
New York’s Democratic Governor continues to lay much of the blame at the feet of the federal government. After a Friday conference call on the administration’s vaccine distribution plan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo described the plan as ‘deeply flawed.’
“The main distribution would be private pharmacies,” he told reporters. “CVS, Walgreens, etc. That is a very limited distribution mechanism.”
The White House was quick to respond, calling the criticism politically-motivated.
“After missing the White House’s last 17 consecutive governors-only briefings spanning nearly the past 5 months, including a 75-minute vaccine briefing joined by nearly 50 governors and senior officials overseeing the vaccine development process, it’s no surprise that an absent Governor Cuomo is substantially behind and unprepared as states formulate their vaccine distribution plans.”WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT