coronavirus

‘This is Serious': Baker, Walsh Warn Mass. Residents to Guard Against Coronavirus Surge

States like Florida, Texas and Arizona saw large spikes in COVID-19 cases as their states reopened

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As other states across the country contend with new coronavirus spikes, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh both warned Friday against relaxing safety precautions for fear that a second surge could happen here as well.

"In seven days, if you look at a map of the country, Texas, Florida, Arizona and southern California are seeing large spikes," Walsh said on Boston Public Radio. "This is serious. Worldwide, nearly 500,000 people have lost their life to COVID-19."

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"It's still very much here," the mayor added. "Let's not let our guard down. We have an opportunity now to keep the numbers down. In these other states when they reopened they didn't put safety precautions in place, they didn't enforce the mask rule."

What's particularly frightening about the latest outbreaks, Walsh said, is that younger people are being infected in Florida and Arizona. Health experts said a large number of cases are being seen among young people who are going out again, hitting the bars and other nightspots, often without wearing masks or observing other social-distancing rules.

"It's quite contrary to what we've witnessed here, what's happening [elsewhere] in the country," he said.

Baker sounded a similar tone during his Friday media availability, continuing to urge residents to social distance, wear masks or face coverings and observe good hygiene.

"We do need to recognize and understand that this is still very much with us, and for anybody who thinks this is over, ask them to take a look at the data coming out of the South and Southwest, which had a very positive set of statistics week over week and now they're really starting to struggle," he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID and member of the White House coronavirus task force, addressed the growing number of virus cases across the U.S. Fauci urged Americans to do their part in stopping the spread, saying, “A risk for you is not just isolated to you because if you get infected, you are part, innocently or inadvertently, of propagating the dynamic process of a pandemic.”

The U.S. reported an all-time high of 45,500 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, eclipsing the mark set during one of the deadliest stretches in late April, according to NBC News. The alarming rise in coronavirus cases has some governors backtracking or at least pausing the reopening of their states.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday ordered bars to shut down again and scaled back restaurant dining in latest rollbacks amid a surge in confirmed virus cases. The sharp reversal comes weeks after the state was among the first to let retailers and restaurants open back up for business.

Texas, reported more than 17,000 confirmed new cases in the past three days, with a record high of nearly 6,000 on Thursday. The day’s tally of over 4,700 hospitalizations was also a record.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey did the same, declaring the state “on pause” as hospitals accelerate toward capacity. And Nevada’s governor ordered the wearing of face masks in public, Las Vegas casinos included.

In Florida, the state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Friday ordered a halt to on-premises alcohol consumption at bars statewide. The move comes as Florida shattered its daily record for new coronavirus cases, reporting nearly 9,000 confirmed infections Friday, NBC Miami reports.

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