Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Muted Labor Day holiday brings official end to US summer of misery

America now has more than 6.2 million cases, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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Summer drew to a restrained close on Monday with many big Labor Day gatherings cancelled and health authorities pleading with people to keep their distance from others so as not to cause another coronavirus surge like the one that followed Memorial Day in May.

The US had about 1.6 million confirmed Covid-19 cases up to Memorial Day, when backyard parties and other gatherings contributed to a summertime surge.

America now has more than 6.2 million cases, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths from the virus more than doubled over the summer to nearly 190,000, reports AP.

In the US, Labor Day officially marks the end of summer.

Huge football stadiums at Ohio State and the University of Texas, usually bursting with fans, sat empty.

Many Labor Day parades were called off, and masks were usually required at the few that went on.

In New Orleans, which has had one of the largest outbreaks outside of New York City, officials reminded residents that the virus doesn’t take holidays after they received calls reporting large gatherings and businesses not following safety rules.

In South Carolina, which was a hot spot of contagion over the summer, before cases started to decline in early August, the Nascar race went ahead on Sunday. State officials approved a socially distant attendance plan at the track, which normally holds 47,000 people.

8,000 fans were permitted to attend.

The race was the biggest gathering in the state since the outbreak started six months ago. Many rows and seats were kept empty to keep groups of fans apart, and people were asked to wear masks.

Debbie Katsanos drove down for the race from New Hampshire with her husband and her father. It was their first trip out of their home state since Covid-19 started spreading.

They had time off because the Labor Day weekend fair at home, where they usually sell concessions, was cancelled this year.

Katsanos said they wore masks at all times when they were away from their motor home, ate in a restaurant only once on the way down and tried to stay socially distant when visiting with other people at their campground.

“It’s probably our only chance to get somewhere before the summer ends,” she said as she sat in stalled traffic on Interstate 95 in North Carolina on the long trip home.

“I see today as the turning of the corner. We survived this. Let’s live life a little.”

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