The coronavirus pandemic passed 500,000 confirmed deaths and 10 million confirmed cases worldwide as new infections continued to surge in some U.S. states.
Nationwide, cases passed 2.5 million over the weekend as California, Florida, and Texas all announced updates to their phased reopenings in an attempt to slow the spread.
With the new cases predominantly affecting younger Americans, governors Gavin Newsom of California, Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Greg Abbott of Texas all rolled back reopenings of bars. Appearing with Abbott on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence commended him for taking action, admitting that “about two weeks ago something changed.”
“It’s a good time to steer clear of senior citizens and to practice the kind of measures that will keep our most vulnerable safe,” Pence said at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he was joined by Abbott, White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, and Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson.
“We know that we can do both — continue to allow businesses to open while containing the coronavirus,” Abbott explained. “But it does require all Texans to go back to those strategies that we mastered,” including wearing face masks and maintaining good hygiene, Abbott said. He added: “If you don’t need to get out, there’s no reason to go out at this particular time.”
Pence is set to travel to Florida and Arizona — another state that has seen a pike in cases — this week. As Democrats continue to criticize the Trump Administration’s response, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar pushed back, but said “the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control.”
“It is not really about reopening,” Azar told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “We can and we have to get back to work, back to school and back to health care . . . If we act irresponsibly, if we don’t social distance, if we don’t use face coverings in settings where we can’t social distance, if we don’t practice appropriate personal hygiene, we’re going to see spread of disease.”