July 4 coronavirus news

43 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
2:50 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

What it's like at US beaches on Fourth of July weekend during a pandemic

It's the Fourth of July holiday weekend in the US, and some Americans have altered their celebrations as coronavirus cases increase in states across the country.

What's allowed on beaches — a staple of the summer holiday — varies from place to place. While some beaches, like those in New York City, reopened before the holiday, some in hard hit areas, like in Miami and Los Angeles, temporarily closed for the weekend to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Beachgoers were seen walking in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, this morning, despite rising case numbers in the state.

People walk along the beach on the morning of July 4 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
People walk along the beach on the morning of July 4 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Beaches were also open for the holiday in New Jersey.

A discarded mask floats in the ocean on July 3 in Wildwood, New Jersey.
A discarded mask floats in the ocean on July 3 in Wildwood, New Jersey. Mark Makela/Getty Images

In California, Los Angeles-area beaches closed on Friday and will remain closed until Monday, officials announced earlier this week. Violators could face fines.

A man skates along the closed and nearly empty Santa Monica beach on July 3 in Santa Monica, California.
A man skates along the closed and nearly empty Santa Monica beach on July 3 in Santa Monica, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

2:47 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Parks staff working Mount Rushmore event not required to get tested for coronavirus

From CNN's Ali Main and Betsy Klein

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive onstage during an event at Mount Rushmore on July 3 in Keystone, South Dakota.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive onstage during an event at Mount Rushmore on July 3 in Keystone, South Dakota. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The National Park Service did not require employees who worked President Trump's Mount Rushmore event yesterday to get tested for coronavirus, according to NPS spokesperson for the incident management team Dana Soehn. 

Soehn said face masks were available to all employees who worked the event and using them was recommended at all times when social distancing could not be maintained.

Some NPS staff were seen wearing masks at the event and others were not.

"The NPS is following CDC guidance for health monitoring of the work force. Park management is taking action based on federal and state guidance and specific conditions at each site for phased reopening. [Department of Interior] employees are encouraged to conduct daily self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 using the CDC symptom webpage or the CDC Self-Checker, and to not report to the workplace if they exhibit any symptoms or feeling unwell. None of the Incident Management Team members for the event have reported exhibiting any symptoms or feeling unwell," Soen said.

About the event: President Trump spoke at the event, mentioning the virus just once, at the very top of his remarks, thanking those working to fight it.

Attendees clustered together in stadium seating in front of a patriotic-themed stage for hours before Trump arrived, and people at the top of the amphitheater sat in rows of folding chairs that were tied together with zip ties — preventing any social distancing.

5:32 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

US labs report Covid-19 testing delays as case numbers rise

From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

Major commercial laboratories in the United States are reporting delays in returning Covid-19 test results as the pandemic rages on and case numbers surge in parts of the country.

While the number of tests conducted across the US increases, experts say long turnaround times can make it difficult to isolate confirmed cases and quickly quarantine their close contacts.

Quest Diagnostics, a commercial laboratory, said this week that testing demand has reached “unprecedented levels,” leading to delays. LabCorp, another laboratory, is reporting delays too. 

While Quest can provide results in a day for priority patients – including sick health care workers and people in the hospital – the company said its average turnaround time is three to five days for most other patients.

“Demand for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing reaches unprecedented levels, extending turnaround times,” a Quest statement read.

“In our media statement posted June 25, we communicated that we are experiencing surging demand for our COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing services. We also communicated that this demand is likely to extend average turnaround times for reporting test results near term,” the company said. “Since that statement, we have continued to experience surging demand for these services, with recent daily orders outpacing capacity.”

That is the most current information available from Quest, according to company spokesperson Kimberly Gorode.

LabCorp is now taking one to two days longer to report results, the company told CNN in a statement Saturday. The company’s current turnaround time is two to four days on average.

“In recent weeks, we have seen a steady increase in demand for molecular testing and we are doing everything we can to continue delivering results in a timely manner while continually increasing testing capacity,” LabCorp said.

1:51 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Take these precautions if you're hosting a barbecue today

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Many Americans typically mark the Fourth of July with backyard barbecues with family and friends. Those kinds of celebration might look a little different this year because of coronavirus.

Depending on your state, there may be regulations and limits on how many people can attend a social gathering.

Remember that the more people you come in contact with, the higher your risk of getting infected. If you are going to invite people you haven't been isolating with, there are a few precautions you can take to make your cookout safer:

  • Have everyone bring their own food and plastic utensils. This means no shared bowl of chips. Hot dogs and hamburgers should go directly from the grill to a person's plate, not to a big tray of food. Different households should sit together — separately.
  • If you have a lot of people in attendance, it's also a good idea to wear a mask.
  • If guests have no choice but to go inside your home to use the bathroom, have all the doors going toward the bathroom open, so no one has to touch any other handles. Have guests use a piece of tissue to open and close the bathroom door and make a note to close the toilet seat before flushing.
1:23 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

How Nathan's Famous annual hot dog eating contest played out during the pandemic

Competitive eaters Miki Sudo, left, and Joey Chestnut, right, pose for a photograph at the weigh-in the day before the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest on July 3 in New York.
Competitive eaters Miki Sudo, left, and Joey Chestnut, right, pose for a photograph at the weigh-in the day before the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest on July 3 in New York. John Minchillo/AP

Defending champions Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo won the 2020 Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest today. 

The annual event looked a little different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The contest is traditionally held on Brooklyn's Coney Island, at Nathan's famed flagship restaurant. But the 2020 edition took place at an undisclosed dining locale, with social distancing measures in place. 

The 36-year-old Chestnut ate 75 hot dogs to set a new world-record in the 10-minute span to win the men’s contest for the 13th time in his career. Chestnut — who has won 13 out of the last 14 years — broke his previous record of 7, which was set in 2018.  

Sudo set the women’s record in her victory, eating a total of 48 1/2 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win the contest for the 7th time.  

Competitive eater Miki Sudo, center, competes in the women's division of the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest on July 4 in New York.
Competitive eater Miki Sudo, center, competes in the women's division of the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest on July 4 in New York. John Minchillo/AP

12:58 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Houston-area county bans some outdoor gatherings of 10 people or more

From CNN’s Leslie Perrot

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a countywide order prohibiting outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people, except for some Independence Day activities.

The order, which was issued on Friday, says fireworks displays/gatherings with more than 100 people are allowed only if people view the celebrations from inside a motor vehicle.

The order is in effect until at least 11:59 p.m. local time on Aug. 26. 

Other exceptions to this order include gatherings of 10 or more people at:

  • Religious services
  • Local government operations
  • Child care services
  • Youth camps
  • Recreational sports programs for youths and adults
  • Professional, collegiate, or similar sporting events
  • Swimming pools
  • Water parks
  • Museums and libraries
  • Zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities
  • Rodeos and equestrian events
  • Amusement parks.

Harris County includes Houston, which has seen increased coronavirus cases in recent days.

At least two Harris County hospitals are "pretty much at maximum capacity," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said earlier this week.

5:29 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Biden: "One of the most patriotic things you can do is wear a mask"

Joe Biden arrives to speak at an affordable health care event on June 25 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Joe Biden arrives to speak at an affordable health care event on June 25 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Continuing his efforts to encourage Americans to wear a mask, presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden tweeted that as the nation marks Independence Day, that “one of the most patriotic things you can do is wear a mask.”

Some background: Biden has said if elected president, he would make wearing a face covering in public compulsory, furthering himself on the issue from President Trump, who has stressed that masks are voluntary and has flouted public health recommendations.

In May, Biden called President Trump "an absolute fool" for sharing a tweet that mocked the former vice president for wearing a mask.

12:33 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Los Angeles-area beaches are closed, so some people are sunbathing on nearby sidewalks

From CNN's Paul Vercammen

Paul Vercammen/CNN
Paul Vercammen/CNN

Beaches in  the Los Angeles area are closed this holiday weekend as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the state — but that isn't stopping the most determined sunbathers.

Some would-be beachgoers laid out on the walkway near the closed Manhattan Beach yesterday.

"Just trying to get some sun since they won’t let us hang out at the beach," one of them told CNN.

Souther California official announced the beach closures, which began yesterday and run until Monday, earlier this week.

“We cannot risk having crowds at the beach this holiday weekend,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies are patrolling the beaches over the weekend, enforcing the closure. Violators could face a $1,000 fine.

12:11 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

If you go out to eat for July Fourth, take these precautions

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

Patrons wait in line outside a bar and restaurant on July 3 in Los Angeles, California.
Patrons wait in line outside a bar and restaurant on July 3 in Los Angeles, California. Richard Vogel/AP

Restaurants and bars across the country have reopened to the public. While the option is there, it's important to realize that eating out will increase your risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

If you still choose to eat at a restaurant or cafe to celebrate the Fourth, there are a few precautions you can take:

  • You should be seated at a table with a minimum distance of 6 feet from other tables. While this won't entirely eliminate the risk of infection — fans and air conditioning can allow respiratory particles from someone's sneeze or cough to travel farther — it will create some distance from other customers.
  • It's best to visit restaurants that mandate employees wear masks. While that does add a layer of protection, there is still a risk from other customers who can't wear masks while they eat and talk.
  • Try to visit restaurants that offer contactless menus you can access on your phone or have tables surrounded by protective barriers, such as plexiglass or screens.
  • Outside dining is safer than indoor dining. Maintaining eye protection via glasses and intermittent mask use between bites and sips would also decrease the risk of transmission.
  • It's also important to remember that the longer the time someone is exposed to a person who is infectious, the greater the risk — so it's also a good idea to spend as little time in the restaurant as possible.