By Associated Press
Brazil and Mexico reported record numbers of infections and deaths almost daily this week, fueling criticism of their presidents for limited lockdowns. But infections also rose and intensive care units were swamped in Peru, Chile and Ecuador, all countries lauded for imposing early and aggressive business shutdowns and quarantines.
In the U.S., some regions are opening more quickly than others. California is preparing its wineries for visitors next week, and Las Vegas casinos could reopen June 4.
New Yorkers were offered an unexpected reprieve when Gov. Andrew Cuomo eased the virus-ravaged state’s ban on gatherings in time for the Memorial Day weekend, when Americans honor fallen military service members, hold picnics and head outdoors on what’s traditionally seen as a kickoff to summer.
Some families plan to visit beaches or national parks for the first time since the virus hit, and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is scheduled to visit the Grand Canyon on Saturday.
The U.S. has been the hardest-hit country, with more than 96,000 deaths among 1.6 million confirmed cases, followed by Russia and Brazil, according to the Johns Hopkins count.
One sign of hope emerged Saturday: China, where the outbreak began late last year, reported no new confirmed cases for the first time.
As Japan reopens, guidelines were released for bar hostesses and other nightlife workers to wear masks, gargle every 30 minutes and disinfect karaoke microphones after each use. South Korea reopened then shut down thousands of clubs after more than 200 recent infections were linked to clubgoers in Seoul.
Concerns are rising in India, where new cases showed another record jump Saturday, topping 6,000 for a second consecutive day as a two-month lockdown has eased. States with relatively few cases have seen spikes in recent days as residents, including migrant workers traveling on special trains, have returned home.
While some countries are facing a second wave of infections, badly hit Russia is still struggling with its first, and reported more than 9,000 new daily cases Saturday.
“I just want to be in silence for a couple of days. I would like to go somewhere in the mountains where there is no cellphone signal, so I can sit quietly and have some air,” said Dr. Osman Osmanov, an ICU physician at the end of yet another long shift in Moscow, the epicenter of Russia’s outbreak.
“We’re just hoping that soon it will all end, we will win and it will all be fine.”