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Officials on close watch as US celebrates today

American health officials have made a special appeal to the people of the United States as they celebrate their Independence Day today, July 4.

This is the day Americans traditionally celebrate with fireworks, parades, and concerts, along with family barbecues in their front and back lawns. This year, health officials are asking everyone to maintain social distancing as the coronavirus cases are still increasing.

Some 8,000 cases are added each day to the total global number which neared 19 million this week, with over half a million deaths. The US accounted for over 2.6 million cases in the middle of this week, with over 130,000 deaths. Next in the list of countries with the most cases were Brazil, Russia, India, and the United Kingdom.

After the 50 US states began lifting their restrictions, the number of coronavirus cases has now surged in 37 states led by Idaho, Montana, Florida, Nevada, Texas, Kansas, and Georgia. Twenty-two states have now rolled back their reopening plans. Massachusetts announced it would quarantine all visitors from the other states.

It is against this background that the US celebrates today the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence in 1776. It is traditionally a day of community celebration. And this is what worries American health officials.

For the coronavirus thrives and spreads where people come into close contact with one another – in parks and beaches, in bars and restaurants, in parties. One infected person exhaling droplets containing the COVID-19 virus could well infect many others.

Thus, for today’s Independence Day celebration, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has appealed to Americans: Practice social distancing. “For the Fourth of July, which is a family event, we want to emphasize that it’s really important that we get back to being vigilant as our collective commitment—to protect vulnerable friends, family, community,” CDCP Director Robert Redfield said.

The CDCP also recommends that people use face masks or any face covering when in a public place like a grocery store or a public train station, but it remains recommendatory, in deference to President Trump who has refused to wear one, as he continues to minimize the coronavirus threat which, in one recent interview, he said, “will soon just disappear.”

The world continues to look at the US in this time of the pandemic for it remains the epicenter with the most cases and deaths in all the world. We have our own cases in the Philippines, with Cebu City in continued strict lockdown – an Enhanced Community Quarantine. There are various other levels of lockdown, with Metro Manila under a less restrictive General Community Quarantine until July 15.

We hope the US gets to celebrate its Independence Day today without suffering a big surge in new cases of the coronavirus. The CDCP hopes this will come about if Americans conscientiously follow social distancing as they celebrate the day.

“Do it for your loved ones,” The CDCP urged. It is an appeal that may well be directed at the whole world whether in a celebration or in an ordinary gathering of people in the community.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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