ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10/CNN) – Atlanta like other cities hit hard by COVID-19 are warning more drastic measures could lie ahead as officials try to contain a virus spreading more rampant than ever.
Last week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also discussed his proposal to the state’s governor for a two-week shutdown due to the rise in cases. He said the city needed to “reset,” especially as leaders begin conversations about reopening schools.
Turner’s proposal parallels what Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced last week: that the city’s reopening be rolled back to Phase 1, when residents were ordered home except for essential trips. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp slammed the decision calling it “confusing” and “legally unenforceable.”
The two leaders in the state have since been clashing on coronavirus guidelines, after Kemp sued the mayor over a mask mandate she ordered for the city. Kemp previously issued an executive order nullifying local mask requirements.
Bottoms tweeted that the governor has issued an injunction limiting her press statements.
In addition to being sued over a mask mandate and voluntary advisory guidelines on COVID-19, @GovKemp has asked for an emergency injunction to “restrain” me from issuing press statements and speaking to the press. Far more have sacrificed too much more for me to be silent. pic.twitter.com/gWlnZlCtoR
— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) July 19, 2020
The injunction submitted by Chris Carr “to restrain Mayor Bottoms from issuing press releases, or making statements to the press, that she has the authority to impose more or less restrictive measures than are ordered by Governor Kemp related to the Public Health Emergency.”
The different approaches are just some examples of the conversations between local and state leaders across the US as cases surge and hospital capacities dwindle.
In a month, the US beat its own record of new cases in a day at least nine times. So far, more than 3.7 million Americans have tested positive for the virus and at least 140,534 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Colorado areas using masks had lower virus spread
With most state leaders vowing not to fall back into a second shutdown, many have leaned in on mask mandates to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
In Colorado, the governor issued a statewide mask mandate and said Sunday his state saw a lower spread of the virus in areas that saw more mask usage.
“With the desire to keep the economy open, to maximize the ability to return to school in as safe a way as possible for teachers and for students, the mask mandate was really an easy decision after I saw that data,” Gov. Jared Polis told ABC’s “This Week.”
Experts have repeatedly highlighted masks are among the most powerful weapons the country can use against the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert has urged governors and mayors to be “as forceful as possible” to get Americans to wear face coverings.
In Florida, where daily new cases have tripled in a month, the governor has resisted implementing a mandate and said the state would not be prosecuting people who don’t wear face coverings.
But in the city of Miami, officials are doubling down on an existing mask order. Starting Monday, residents who fail to wear a face mask in public will be fined without first getting a warning. That fine starts at $50 and will increase at every additional offense.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said it was “bizarre that we have turned the mask wearing into something political.”
“You’d wonder what is going on here? How could it be that something as basic as a public health that we have very strong evidence can help, seems to attach to people’s political party,” he said.
“This is not a war, but in a certain way it is, against the enemy which is called the virus and that virus is very sneaky and stealthy.”
These states broke records
Meanwhile, as states navigate their next steps to combat the rapid spread, unwanted records keep getting smashed.
- At least two states reported record single-day case increases Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins. Georgia reported 4,688 new cases for a total of 139,880 statewide while North Carolina reported 2,522 new cases, reaching 98,092 infections across the state.
- Los Angeles reported the highest number of hospitalizations in a day, with at least 2,216 people hospitalized. More than half of the 2,848 new cases reported Sunday in Los Angeles were in people under 41 years old, officials said.
- Arizona reported its highest death count since the pandemic on Saturday, with a total of 147 deaths, according to the COVID Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins. The state’s previous one-day record, set on July 7, was 117 deaths, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
- In Florida, a state that has broken its own single-day case record several times in recent weeks, there were at least 49 hospitals with no ICU beds available Sunday, according to data from a state agency.
Older children can transmit virus as much as adults
While more states are reporting surges, local leaders are discussing what a return to school will look like. President Donald Trump has already said he’s pressured governors to ensure a return to classrooms across the country in the fall.
In Arizona, where the governor has indicated he’ll give more guidance on school reopenings in the coming days, 87 healthcare professionals signed a letter urging the state leader to keep schools closed for the first quarter of the school year.
“We share a common concern: that the tremendous pressure to return to in-person schooling in August is ill-advised and dangerous given the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in our community,” the letter said.
The decisions about a return to class come as new research reveals older children (between the ages of 10 and 19) can transmit the virus within a household just as much as adults.
The researchers in South Korea also found that children ages 9 and younger transmitted the virus within their household at rates that were a lot lower.
“Although the detection rate for contacts of preschool-aged children was lower, young children may show higher attack rates when the school closure ends, contributing to community transmission of COVID-19,” the study said.
©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to the story.