On Memorial Day, social distancing guidelines went out the window

A Sacramento County park ranger issues an alcohol citation to an American River visitor in the Sunrise Recreation Area near Rancho Cordova, Calif., during the Memorial Day weekend. (AP/The Sacramento Bee/Daniel Kim)

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together over the weekend.

By Associated Press

Big crowds turned out for the Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. amid warnings from authorities about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a resurgence of the scourge that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.

On the Navajo Nation, which sprawls across the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, the number of virus cases rose by 56 on Sunday to 4,689, according to the local health department.

Meanwhile, the White House broadened its travel ban against countries hit hard by the virus, saying it would deny admission to foreigners who have recently been in Brazil.

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together over the weekend.

“We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can’t social distance and you’re outside, you must wear a mask,” Birx said on ABC’s “This Week.”

In Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation spot popular with Chicagoans.

On Georgia’s Tybee Island, the beach was filled with families, but at a nearby grocery store, staff members handed customers gloves and a number to keep track of how many people were inside.

In California, beaches and parks were open for swimming, running and other activities.

At New York’s Orchard Beach in the Bronx, kids played with toys, and people sat in folding chairs. Some wore winter coats on a cool and breezy day, and many wore masks and sat apart from others.

“Good to be outside. Fresh air. Just good to enjoy the outdoors,” said Danovan Clacken, whose face was covered.

The U.S. is on track to surpass 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the next few days, while Europe has seen over 169,000 dead, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that almost certainly understates the toll. Worldwide, more than 5.4 million people have been infected and nearly 345,000 have died.

The issue of wearing masks in public and staying several feet apart has become fraught politically, with some Americans arguing that such rules violate their rights.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who has been targeted by such demonstrations, insisted the precautions should not be a partisan issue.

“This is not about whether you are liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican or Democrat,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The Trump administration said Sunday that it would ban foreign nationals who have been in Brazil 14 days or less before planning to enter the United States. The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents or some of their relatives. Brazil is second only to the U.S. in reported coronavirus cases.

David Isaac:
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