Story at a glance
- States began reopening in May after months under stay-at-home orders.
- New coronavirus cases have surged in some states, putting a pause on reopening plans.
- A majority of residents in Arizona and Texas are ready to go back under lockdown, while Californians are more split on reopening.
The recent spike in coronavirus cases in some states isn’t the second wave public health experts have been expecting — in fact, the first wave still hasn’t ended, some warn.
Instead, it's been extended after many states began reopening earlier than advised. And as state and local governments are backtracking, a recent poll shows residents are ready to go back into lockdown as well.
In Texas, where a new record for coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations in a single day was set on Thursday, 76 percent of Texans support another lockdown, according to the Harris Poll. Nearly 3 in 5 residents oppose the state’s approach to reopening, the poll found, and 56 percent blame the resurgence on the state’s dismissal of safety protocols, while 43 percent say the White House also shoulders blame.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who made the decision to allow a stay-at-home order to expire on April 30, has now ordered bars to close and restaurants to reduce capacity, even requiring face coverings in some counties.
“The numbers are going to look worse as we go into next week,” he told KRIV. “The last thing we want to do is shut things down again. The only strategy we have to prevent that from happening is by everybody wearing a mask.”
Meanwhile in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey began reopening the state on May 15, but paused the reopening of bars, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals for the month of July after cases spiked. Nearly three-quarters of the state's residents say the first lockdowns were effective and 76 percent support another lockdown, according to the Harris Poll. Arizonians, however, place more blame on their neighbors for the resurgence, with 53 percent saying people in their state were reckless and did not follow safety protocols and 35 percent pointing out the lack of incentive to follow such protocols.
In contrast to the two Republican governors, California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom was one of the first governors to shut down their state. But as California began reopening in May, case counts have gone up, and some counties have closed up again. Newsom also implemented a mandate on face masks in public, but some — residents and counties — have pushed back, according to The Los Angeles Times.
In fact, the most populous state in the country is divided almost down the middle on the response to the pandemic. A majority of the state's residents agree that the lockdown was effective, but they are split on reopening: 51 percent support it, while 49 percent oppose it.
Some Californians blame their neighbors, 44 percent saying people in the state were reckless and didn't follow safety protocols and 33 percent saying people lacked concern for the pandemic. But almost half also blame the White House, the poll found, for a lack of consistent, unified messaging and downplaying the dangers of COVID-19.
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