New Yorkers rush to get haircuts, dine outside but COVID-19 cases soar in other states
By Maria Caspani and Nathan Layne
NEW YORK (Reuters) - After more than 100 days of coronavirus blocking, New York City residents celebrated the lifting of additional restrictions on Monday by getting their first haircuts in months, shopping in reopened stores, and dining in sidewalk cafes.
Once the epicenter of the global outbreak, the city was the last region in New York to enter Phase 2 of the reopening. Restaurants and bars offer outdoor service and many shops are reopening. Hairdressers and hairdressers welcomed customers for the first time since mid-March, some were fully booked for the next two weeks.
The playgrounds were scheduled to reopen on Monday in the most populous city in the United States. The pandemic has killed more than 120,000 Americans and has surfaced in a dozen states that reported record increases in cases last week.
At the height of the outbreak, the normally busy streets of New York were deserted and the nights were full of howling sirens from ambulances. On the worst days, the state of New York lost 1,000 lives a day, hospitals were overwhelmed and corpses filled makeshift morgues. Ten deaths from the corona virus were reported on Monday. The usual traffic jams clogged the streets and honking cars brought a welcome normalcy.
Customers wearing facewear stood up in front of the Clementine Bakery in Brooklyn in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Monday, and some enjoyed the warm summer morning and drank iced coffee at scattered tables on the sidewalk.
"It feels like my life is normalizing a little bit. It feels really good that I can sit and have a coffee," said Arden Katine, 34, a teacher who lives nearby.
The rapid breakout in other states worried New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who said he was talking to neighboring states about restricting travelers from high-speed areas such as Arizona and Florida. Earlier this year, Florida ordered incoming New Yorkers to quarantine for two weeks.
"It is more effective if we act as regional cooperation, and I talk to them about the introduction of guidelines so that no people come from these other countries," Cuomo told MSNBC.
While new cases in New York and New Jersey are at record lows with 1% to 2% of positive tests, a dozen states in the south and southwest of the United States reported record increases in new coronavirus cases. In some cases, 10% to 20% of people tested positive. The same states frequently reported record hospitals, a metric that was not affected by further testing.
The number of new cases rose a record last week in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Together, about a third of the US population lives here. Alabama, Georgia, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming also posted record highs.
President Donald Trump is aiming for a second term in the White House in an election on November 3 and is traveling to Arizona for a youth meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday. Trump held his first political rally in months in a partially empty arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday.
Health experts have warned people to avoid large gatherings and wear masks, but few have followed this advice in Tulsa.
Trump initially dismissed the corona virus threat and campaigned against the state's governors to slow their spread. Since then, his approval ratings have dropped and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden now leads him with 13 points.
According to the latest Reuters / Ipsos survey, 76% of Americans remain concerned about the spread of COVID-19.
(Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York and Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Lisa Lambert in Washington; writing by Lisa Shumaker; editing by Howard Goller)
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