California orders closure of some bars as US posts record rise in cases

California orders closure of some bars as US posts record rise in cases

California ordered some bars to close on Sunday, the first major rollback of efforts to reopen the economy in the most populous US state as novel coronavirus cases nationwide soar to record levels day after day. Governor Gavin Newsom’s order for bars to close in Los Angeles and six other counties followed moves by Texas and Florida to shut all their bars on Friday. Public health officials in California and throughout the United States have identified bars as the riskiest non-essential businesses currently open.

Consuming alcohol reduces inhibitions, which leads to less mask-wearing and social distancing, health officials warn. Patrons in noisy bars often shout, which spreads droplets more widely. The surge in cases has been most pronounced in Southern and Western states that did not follow health officials’ recommendations to wait for a steady decline in cases before reopening.

More than 2.5 million people have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the United States and more than 125,000 have died, the most in the world. For a third consecutive day on Saturday, the number of confirmed US cases leapt by more than 40,000, one of the world’s largest surges.

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