© Reuters. People run along the reflecting pool during the Memorial Day weekend in Washington
By Lisa Shumaker
(Reuters) – Americans sunbathed on beaches, fished from boats, and walked promenades this holiday weekend, even though the number of US casualties from COVID-19 is rapidly approaching 100,000.
The Memorial Day weekend, which signals the beginning of US summer, is usually a time when cemeteries across the country fill with American flags and ceremonies to remember those who died in US wars.
This year is also the time to mourn the loss of more than 97,000 people due to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
The New York Times (NYSE 🙂 filled its entire front page with the names and selected details of 1,000 victims on Sunday to illustrate the humanity of lost lives.
Graphic: Tracking the novel corona virus in the USA – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA/0100B5K8423/index.html
"We tried to capture this personal toll," Marc Lacey, the newspaper's national editor, told Reuters. "We tried to humanize these numbers, which continue to grow and have reached so inscrutable heights that they are really difficult to grasp. … This is about ordinary people. It's about a number of fatalities, one number achieve that is really just jaw drop. "
Among the victims from obituaries and obituaries in hundreds of US newspapers: Lila Fenwick, 87, the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Law; Romi Cohn, 91, saved 56 Jewish families from the Gestapo; Hailey Herrera, 25, aspiring therapist with a talent for empathy.
All 50 states have relaxed some of the restrictions on corona viruses. In some states, such as Illinois and New York, restaurants are still closed for personal meals and hair salons remain closed. In many southern states, most companies are open with limited capacity.
Last week, according to Reuters, 11 states reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases, including Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Maryland, Maine, Nevada, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. It is not clear whether the cases arise due to further testing or a second wave of infection.
In total, there are over 1.6 million cases in the United States, the highest in the world, while forecast models for possible COVID-19 deaths predict that the death toll will exceed 100,000 by June 1.
Graphic: World-focused tracker with country-specific interaction – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/COUNTRIES/oakveqlyvrd/index.html?id=united-kingdom
A plea by health officials and many governors to wear masks in shops and in public has met with protest and opposition from some Americans. Social media has videos of companies that reject some angry customers who refuse to cover their mouths and noses.
"We have to wear masks in public when we have no social distance. It is really crucial that we have the scientific evidence of how important it is to wear masks to prevent these droplets from reaching others," said Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said on "Fox News Sunday".
While the Americans largely followed warnings to maintain social distance on the weekend, there were notable exceptions.
Graphic: Where coronavirus cases are increasing in the U.S. – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/USA-TRENDS/dgkvlgkrkpb/index.html
This included some crowded beaches in Florida and other Gulf States that forced the authorities to break up large gatherings. Videos posted on social media showed parties in other states where people crowded pool to elbow in pools and clubs.
Such a party at a Houston club called Cle prompted the city mayor, Sylvester Turner, on Sunday to order firefighters across the metropolitan area to enforce social distance rules.
Last week, Turner said the authorities would not necessarily ensure that companies with 50% capacity restrictions work for restaurants and 25% for bars. But he reversed the course after more than 250 complaints had been called in the city by Sunday evening.
"There are too many people coming to some of our clubs, our bars, to swimming pool parties without social distance, without masks," said Turner. "It is clear that people are pushing, it looks like maximum capacity, almost on top of each other."