Fourth of July weekend festivities were winding down Sunday after a day of crowded beaches and a night of fireworks that drew large crowds and prompted fears of another surge in COVID-19 cases.
President Donald Trump hosted a "Salute to America" on Saturday in Washington that included a massive fireworks display on the National Mall in Washington. Trump assured the crowd that COVID-19 therapies or a vaccine would be developed "well before the end of the year."
In Florida, while many beaches were closed others were packed with sun worshippers. At Pete Beach on the Gulf of Mexico, parking spaces were scarce and hundreds clustered under umbrellas and in cabanas on the sand.
New Jersey's beaches, casinos, amusement parks and water parks reopened ahead of the holiday weekend. In Seaside Heights, few people were wearing masks or observing social distancing on Saturday. Amanda Vourtis, 27, was spending the Fourth of July with a friend on the borough’s world famous Boardwalk. Vourtis, 27, carried hand sanitizer and a mask in her beach bag.
“I take my own precautions,” Vourtis said. “I think everybody’s aware. I hope everybody does the same as I do and takes precautions for themselves.”
Here are some recent developments:The World Health Organization said member states reported more than 212,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Saturday, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.Cases in Texas and Florida to hit record highs again on Saturday. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 8,076 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, marking the first time Texas crossed the 8,000 threshold for new cases in a single day. And Florida reported 11,458 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, also a record for most new cases in one day.
📈Today's stats: The U.S. recorded 45,283 new cases of the coronavirus, snapping a streak of days with more than 50,000, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The daily death toll was 242. It was not immediately clear what impact the holiday had on collecting the totals. The U.S. has seen more than 2.8 million confirmed cases and more than 129,000 deaths. Globally, there have been more than 11.2 million cases and more than 530,000 deaths.
📰 What we're reading: American colleges and universities offer petri-dish conditions for the coronavirus. For nearly 20 million college and university students, as well as parents and faculty, the uncertainty of what campus life will be like in the fall can be overwhelming. Some schools have set up sophisticated testing plans; others are planning to keep classes online.
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Trump leads charge for Independence Day weekend celebrations
While many governors and mayors urged residents to stay home this weekend, President Donald Trump went ahead with a speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday and an evening of tribute and fireworks Saturday on the National Mall in Washington.
Trump's speeches targeted those who do not support him and made no mention of the pandemic's tragic death toll. Pat Lee of Upper Dublin, Pennsylvania, was a believer. Lee and two friends, none wearing masks, gathered near the event in Washington.
“POTUS said it would go away,” Lee said of the pandemic, using an acronym for president of the United States. “Masks, I think, are like a hoax.”
California sends 'strike teams' to enforce COVID rules
About 200 state inspectors fanned out across California over the July 4 holiday weekend to enforce health orders related to the coronavirus, including about 100 from the Alcohol Beverage Control agency and the rest from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and other state licensing entities. They are part of new "strike teams" from 10 state agencies that Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said would focus on counties with the most restrictions.
The teams made 142 "contacts" with businesses on Thursday, their first day of operation, the state Office of Emergency Services said. They issued seven citations: two in Kern County, three in Los Angeles County and two in Santa Clara County.
"We will be going directly to those who thumb their nose at public health and safety," OES spokesman Brian Ferguson told the Associated Press.
– Melissa Daniels, Palm Springs Desert Sun
Police: Assault charges for maskless man who coughed on 2 women
Police have arrested a 59-year-old man on threatening and assault charges after a disturbance over wearing face masks at a Massachusetts restaurant. Edward McGuire turned himself in to police Tuesday, the day after the incident. McGuire is accused of coughing in the faces of two female customers of the restaurant and saying he hoped they get COVID-19. He also is accused of driving dangerously in the restaurant parking lot, threatening the safety of people dining outdoors.
The incident occurred Monday night after employees of the restaurant asked McGuire to wear a mask. Workers told police that McGuire started yelling and screaming at the employees and went up to two women and coughed on them, saying he hoped they got sick. He then allegedly got in his vehicle and drove in a circle around the parking lot, scaring outdoor diners.
– Rich Harbert, Old Colony Memorial
What we're readingCan stores and restaurants require masks? The answer is yes. Read our Q&A.'This is no joke': Man died of the coronavirus day after saying he regretted attending a party'A mask is not a symbol': Three restaurants take a stand amid pandemic
90% of Arizona ICU beds in use
Arizona reported 2,695 new COVID-19 cases and 17 additional deaths on Saturday, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services. The number of people in the hospitals and using ICU beds again broke records Friday. Saturday's dashboard shows 85% of current inpatient beds and 90% of ICU beds were in use, which includes people being treated for COVID-19 and other patients.
Arizona is among the worst hot spots in the nation for COVID-19. The disease is widespread, and health officials caution people to stay home as much as possible and wear masks in public. Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Arizona on Wednesday, said he is deploying hundreds of medical personnel to assist the state.
– BrieAnna J. Frank, Arizona Republic
More on the coronavirus from USA TODAY
Where a face mask is required: Many governors are instituting or renewing orders requiring people to wear face coverings in public as cases continue to rise. Is your state on the list? See it here.
Coronavirus Watch: We have a few ways for you to stay informed. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here, and come together and share the latest information about coronavirus, coping with lifestyle changes and more by joining our Facebook group.
Where are states on reopening? Some are taking preemptive measures to postpone further phases of their reopening, while others have rolled back their phases to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. See the list.
Contributing: The Associated Press