NewsNation PRIME: Prospect of new virus lockdowns looming

U.S.

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Surging cases of coronavirus, triggered by new variants of the disease, are raising the prospect of a new wave of lockdowns this fall and winter.

Already, business revenue is falling across wide swaths of the country, with events being canceled and tourists being told to stay home. And what’s happened so far could be just the beginning. Cooler weather means more people spending time indoors, and only about half of the American population has been fully vaccinated.

“If there’s anything that the pandemic has taught us, (it) is that we can probably count on further surges,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease physician with The University of Kansas Health System.

In Hawaii, which saw more than 900,000 visitors last month, Gov. David Ige said Monday that he encourages “everyone to restrict and curtail travel” to the state, and says another statewide lockdown is under consideration.

Ige said there is no “specific number” of cases that would trigger a lockdown, “but certainly we are in contact with the hospitals every single day about their current situation, about the number of patients they are seeing, and about their capacity to serve our community with quality health care.”

In Kentucky, the National Guard has been called in to help staff several hospitals, which have seen an influx of patients with severe coronavirus.

In Chicago, this fall’s Mexican Independence Day Parade has been canceled due to the COVID surge, and the same fate has befallen the Pride parade in Austin, Texas.

In tourism-dependent New Orleans, business owners say the boom of earlier this summer, when the virus appeared to lose its grip, is now rapidly dissipating.

And in New York State on Monday, new Gov. Kathy Hochul called for a universal mask mandate in all state schools and said she is seeking COVID vaccine-or-test requirements for all school employees.

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