It’s Memorial Day and Americans are out of their homes in massive numbers. Many have headed for the water, mobbing beaches, boat ramps and other water sources to celebrate in the sun. Some videos of beaches and parks reveal that “social distancing” is not being practiced and there are few face masks to be seen.
Due to what many are citing as “lockdown fatigue,” many Americans seem to have adopted the attitude of “I’ll take my chances,” as they mingle with the world again. Many states, like Arkansas, had very few cases of the virus, and are starting to rebel against the idea that they have to be locked down at all.
The Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, never did issue a stay-at-home order, and the number of cases in that state is just over 5,000, with only 115 deaths, even after a second “spike” in cases.
Alarming, shocking, blatant, frightening, defiance are words that some reporters are using to describe the gatherings at beaches, and other water features. But if you look at the videos closely, people, in most cases are forming pods and keeping their distance from other pods.
In California, a blue state, beaches are being patroled and monitored by law enforcement to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing is mandatory, and state beach parking lots are closed to minimize visitors. California, a state of almost 40 million, has had an unexpectedly low number of COVID-19 deaths.
Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Response Team, encouraged people to go outside and play on Memorial Day weekend, but she also reminded people to practice social distancing. In cases where social distancing is not possible, she urged that people wear face masks.
Experts worry that the effects of Memorial Day activities will take weeks to assess. Time will tell.