The number of new COVID-19 cases in Indiana continues to rise, ending weeks of a downward trend and underscoring the recent push by government officials to convince Hoosiers to take the infection seriously.
The increase is also hitting more young people, as bars and restaurants reopen, and Hoosiers have more chances to mingle. People under 30 now account for 22% of all who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Indiana, up from 15% just a few weeks ago.
For the seven days ending Monday, the number of cases increased by 3,103. That’s up from an increase of 2,595 for the previous week.
And even though most people relaxed over the Independence Day holiday, the virus showed no signs of taking it easy. On Sunday, the state reported 596 new positive cases, the largest single-day total since May 27, when the state reported 597.
The weekend numbers marked the third straight day that cases increased by more than 500, following 517 on Saturday and 528 on Friday.
In response to the recent upsurge, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department officials have mandated that face masks be worn in public in Marion County, beginning Thursday. The face coverings will be required to be worn in indoor places where the public gathers, such as in office buildings and retail stores. They’ll also be required outdoors when it’s not possible to socially distance.
“This isn’t complicated. It’s a piece of cloth,” Hogsett said in his announcement last week. “It’s a piece of cloth that could save your life and the lives of those around you, and it’s the right thing to do.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb is recommending—but not mandating—Hoosiers wear masks. The state has launched a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging face coverings.
Many other states also are seeing a jump in new cases, and are taking additional steps to deal with it.
In Florida, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Monday that a new emergency order will shut down dining-in services at restaurants as well as party venues, gyms, and short-term rentals starting Wednesday, according to National Public Radio. Gimenez is keeping open hotel pools, summer camps, daycare centers, retailers, and personal care services as long as people practice social distancing.
“Beaches will be open on Tuesday,” he said in a news release. “But if we see crowding and people not following the public health rules, I will be forced to close the beaches again.”
In Dade County in Florida, there were 1,984 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, with a total of 48,243 cases and 4,146 deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Los Angeles County, California saw a new daily record of new cases on Friday, with 3,187 infections reported. Officials there had already closed beaches for the holiday weekend and canceled Fourth of July fireworks.
In addition, California Gov. Gavin Newson ordered the re-closing of bars, nightspots, indoor restaurant dining and movie theaters in several counties, including Los Angeles.
In Indiana, the total number of COVID-19 deaths passed 2,500 over the weekend, and now stands at 2,505, according to figures released Monday by the state. Nationally, the total number of COVID-19 deaths hit 130,007 as of Monday.
It’s unclear whether Indiana or local officials plan to push for more restrictions to try to reverse the upward trend. Holcomb is set to have his next press conference on Wednesday. The governor has already delayed Indiana’s jump in to Stage 5 of its recovery plan from July 4 to July 17.
White House officials have indicated they don’t plan to roll out any significant restrictions on social gatherings or other ways to combat the rising numbers. Instead, they are focused on keeping the economy on track and helping businesses reopen.
“We have to adjust our personal lifestyle in a temporary basis because help is on the way,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Fox and Friends on Monday, touting the likelihood of a coronavirus vaccine that health officials say remains months away, according to Politico.
Meadows said President Donald Trump would be willing to wear a mask in tight quarters, but said mask mandates should be a state issue.