At least 16 states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans in response to a surge in new coronavirus infections, but some health officials say the spread of the virus will still be difficult to control.
"What we hope is we can take it seriously and slow the transmission in these places," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday in a live-streamed event by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"But what I think is very discouraging is we're clearly not at a point where there's so little virus being spread that it's going to be easy to snuff out," she said.
State and local leaders have said the rise in cases are in part driven by gatherings, both in homes and in places like bars — which some experts have called the perfect breeding ground for the virus.
But public health experts have also warned that some states also reopened far too soon and too quickly, cautioning the move could lead to more spikes in cases.
Over the weekend, California Gov. Gavin Newsom shut bars back down across seven counties and recommended their closure in several more. In Texas, bars were ordered shut while Florida suspended on-site alcohol consumption statewide.
Arizona shut down its bars, gyms, and other businesses for a month. Beaches in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach were also ordered closed for the upcoming holiday weekend.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the state will decide later this week whether to slow the reopening of indoor dining in New York City as it has "been shown to pose risks in other states."
Even with renewed measures, one expert says there's no proof that reclosing bars and other businesses will slow the resurgence of the virus in parts of the US.
"They're trying to see if they can do this surgically, meaning just close bars or 50% restaurants and encourage use of masks or in some cases mandate masks and stop short of that full lockdown," said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean for the national school of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. "What's the evidence that that will work?