June 7 (UPI) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday said it is assessing the potential for the spread of COVID-19 at ongoing demonstrations nationwide sparked by the police-involved killing of Geroge Floyd.
CDC representative Kristen Nordlund said the agency and federal partners are “closely monitoring” the demonstrations taking place throughout the country adding that protests and other large gatherings make it difficult to follow social distancing guidelines and “may put others at risk.”
“It is too early to know what, if any, effect these events will have on the federal COVID-19 response,” Nordlund said. “Every local situation is different. State and local officials will make decisions to protect public health and safety based on circumstances on the ground.”
CDC Director Robert Redfield said Friday that people who participate in the demonstrations should “highly consider” being evaluated and tested for COVID-19, saying they have the potential to be a seeding event.
The United States has reported 1,925,503 COVID-19 cases and 109,928 deaths related to the virus, according to figures by John’s Hopkins University.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city, which has been host to mass protests, is within the state’s parameters to begin reopening procedures.
“This is what you achieved together, that’s another way we’re going to move forward in this city,” said de Blasio.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced the city would enter Phase 1 of its plan to lift restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus on Monday, reopening, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting; and curbside or in-store pickup and drop off for retail stores.
“New Yorkers bent the curve by being smart,” he wrote on Twitter. “Let’s keep being smart.”
The state of New York, which leads the nation in cases and deaths, reported 45 new deaths over the past 24 hours, up from 35 the previous day, for a total of 24,259. The state also conducted 60,435 COVID-19 tests over the period and reported 781 positive tests for a total of 378,097 positive cases.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state had reported 79 new deaths, up from 60 the previous day, for a total of 12,176 and 426 new cases for a total of 164,164, trailing only neighboring New York in both categories.
Massachusetts is set to move to Phase 2 of its reopening plan on Monday, allowing retail stores to begin in-store operations while observing occupancy limits and safety procedures, restaurants and hotels to open with restrictions and allowing patients that require preventive health care services to schedule appointments.
As of Saturday, Massachusetts reported 55 new deaths for a total of 7,289, third in the nation, and 575 new cases for the fifth highest number in the country at 103,132.
Pennsylvania reported the fourth highest death toll in the country at 5,943 and the sixth-highest number of cases at 75,592. Michigan reported 5,652 deaths for the fifth-most in the nation and 58,749 cases as of Saturday for eighth-most in the nation. Illinois had the sixth-highest death toll at 5,864 and ranked fourth in the nation in the number of cases with 126,890. California ranked third in cases at 128,947 and 4,624 deaths, the seventh-highest in the nation.