As the US celebrates its 244th Independence Day, residents are also showing a stubbornly American streak of defiance against pandemic restrictions, some of it egged on by President Donald Trump.
Beaches, bars, businesses, restaurants and other areas are closed in Southern California. Public fireworks displays and concerts have been canceled. Elsewhere in the US, similar restrictions are in place, and most authorities are urging – pleading, in some cases – for everyone to stay home and limit potential virus exposure by keeping gatherings smaller than normal.
Despite those warnings, people who have been cooped up and beaten down by the pandemic are heading out, even as new coronavirus cases spike in 40 US states, including record-shattering more than 11,000 cases in Florida. Reports indicate scattered instances of defiance, protests of coronavirus restrictions and other issues, and businesses quietly (in some cases, openly) defying shutdown orders.
New cases are undoubtedly rising in part as more testing is available. The US set a record on Friday with 52,300 new cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. In California, the state has seen a 58 percent increase in hospitalizations, and the death toll has now risen past 6,300.
Even in cities where the curve has previously been flattened, the arrows are pointing up. New York State reported 918 new cases, its largest tally in three weeks.
President Donald Trump tweeted that Fake News is driving the impression that the pandemic is spinning out of control.
Foreign countries have noticed. Mexico has added new health checkpoints along its US border this weekend. Nonessential travel restrictions in place between the two countries have been largely ignored.
Los Angeles County has a fireworks ban and ordered all area beaches closed earlier this week. Piers, bike paths, beach parking lots, and beach access points are closed in Los Angeles, Long Beach and elsewhere along the coast.
Casinos are open, albeit with heavy restrictions on masks, temperature checks, and social distancing protocols. Most will operate with limited capacity, and restaurants and bars may not be open in all locations.
There are several protests across the country, some concerned with alleged police brutality, others on immigration. Protests are planned for Olvera Street, Leimert Park, Pan Pacific Park near Hancock Park, and Hollywood.