(CNN)The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus neared 100,000 on Monday, as Americans — some who decided to forgo social distancing — wrapped up their Memorial Day weekends.

 

As of Monday evening, the number of coronavirus-related deaths had reached 98,218, more than the number of US troops killed in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.
President Donald Trump commemorated Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery and at an event in Baltimore, where he added a tribute to the victims of the virus.

“As one nation, we mourn alongside every single family that has lost loved ones, including the families of our great veterans,” he said at the second event. “Together, we will vanquish the virus and America will rise from this crisis to new and greater heights.”

At a glance, it looked this weekend like many Americans have forgotten about the dangers of coronavirus.

Crowds packed beaches in Florida, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia and Indiana. Many people ventured out without masks and others failed to keep their distance even as officials highlighted the continued importance of both in order to prevent another surge of infections.

It wasn’t just the beaches. Pictures posted on social media showed mostly unmasked people crowded together at Ace Speedway in Elon, North Carolina, on Saturday.

“We’re tired of being stuck in the house. I’m not afraid of this virus one bit,” spectator Becky Woosley told CNN affiliate WGHP.

Speedway co-owner Jason Turner told CNN affiliate WXII that 2,500 fans were admitted — half of the speedway capacity — and that staff encouraged but did not enforce social distancing.

“People have the right to choose where they go and what they do,” he said.

In Daytona Beach, people elbow-to-elbow jammed a main thoroughfare. Mayor Derrick Henry said there’s only so much police can do with a crowd that size.

“They were not practicing social distancing and they did not necessarily respond in a lot of ways that we wanted them to as it relates to the normal expectations of visitors,” he told CNN. “When … you got 300 to 500 people per law enforcement officer, it is a tough order.”

In Missouri, hundreds attended a pool party just days after a similar party in neighboring Arkansas caused a cluster of new coronavirus cases. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state is now experiencing a “second peak.”

Hutchinson said the first peak saw 160 cases in one day followed by a “deep dip.” On Saturday, there were 163 new cases of Covid-19 in Arkansas.

But in Delaware, Gov. John Carney, who made a trip to Rehoboth Beach, said he was encouraged by what he saw.

“I saw not many people on the beaches,” Carney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It wasn’t a great beach day in terms of the weather. But on the boardwalk, most of the people, I’d say 80%, were wearing masks as we require.”

Carney said he was impressed by the signage, the 6 foot separation markings and plexiglass shields.

 

Source: CNN

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