Health officials worried as Labor Day weekend comes to a close


NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — Labor Day weekend came to a close Monday with many large gatherings canceled across the U.S. as health authorities once again asked people to keep their distance from each other.

Some health officials are worried that there may be an increase in coronavirus cases after Labor Day like there was after Memorial Day weekend.

“We don’t want go into that with another surge that we have to turn around again,” cautioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, “So it really is an important weekend.”

The U.S. had about 1.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases around Memorial Day, before backyard parties and other gatherings contributed to an increase in cases. The U.S. now has more than 6.2 million cases, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths from the virus more than doubled over the summer to nearly 190,000.

Beachgoers on Long Island apparently got the message.

Parking lots have a cone in every other spot to enforce socially distant cars, and sun-worshippers are being careful to give each other space.

“A lot of us are working now with masks on,” said Kevin Ginter, enjoying Jones Beach with his girlfriend. “Being able to take them off and have our own space has been great.”

While amusement parks continue to suffer the effects of the pandemic, beaches remain extraordinarily popular nation-wide. St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman told NewsNation Monday the impact on local businesses has been a Godsend.

“We’ve seen tourism pick up. Our hotels are busier,” said Kriseman.

It’s another pivotal moment in a season filled with them.  Even the slightest uptick in revenue can mean the difference between life and death for some businesses. Unfortunately, many experts say, the human stakes are at least as high. 

“I think everybody’s concerned about it,” said Long Island’s Carol Antonette. “But we’re all in this together. Hopefully, we’ll get through it and move on.”

“Please, please do not make the same mistakes we all made on Memorial Day weekend. Wear your masks, watch your distance and wash your hands,” said Dr. Raul Pino, state health director in Orange County, Florida, which includes the Orlando area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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