Mardi Gras Canceled as US States, Cities Tighten Coronavirus Restrictions

Mardi Gras parades have been canceled in New Orleans, the city said Tuesday, as the coronavirus continues to surge in much of the United States.  City spokesman Beau Tidwell told a news conference the celebrations, which were scheduled to take place on February 16, 2021, cannot happen with current limits on outdoor gatherings.    “None of this should be a surprise to anybody,” Tidwell said. “The guidelines have been in place for some time.”A view of Bourbon Street amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. March 25, 2020.In California, Los Angeles has ordered restaurants and bars that have outdoor operations to limit their number of customers to 50% capacity and to close by 10 p.m.  Indoor, non-essential stores can operate at only 25% capacity, while businesses such as hair salons can provide services only by appointment. The new rules go into effect Friday. Leaders are also ready to impose a three-week lockdown with people allowed out only for essential trips if the number of new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.  Daily case numbers have more than doubled in the past two weeks. The White House coronavirus task force warned in a weekly report that there is “aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties” in the United States. The surge in cases comes amid worries that the November 28 Thanksgiving Day holiday will further worsen the situation with people traveling and gathering with family and friends. Also Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.    “I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home,” the 87-year-old Senator from Iowa wrote on Twitter, adding that he would continue to quarantine according to CDC guidelines.I’ve tested positive for coronavirus. I’ll b following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes + prayers &look fwd to resuming my normal schedule soon— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) People stand in line to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a test center at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, New York, Nov. 12, 2020.During the past week, the United States has recorded an average of nearly 150,000 new cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country has registered more than 11.3 million total cases during the pandemic, the most in the world.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Tuesday it gave emergency use authorization to the first at-home COVID-19 test kit. A prescription is required to get the kit, made by Lucira, which the FDA says can provide results in 30 minutes or less.  It cautions, however, that a negative test does not preclude a person from infection. “Making it possible for Americans to do their own rapid COVID-19 self-test at home by prescription is the latest addition to our constantly expanding arsenal of COVID-19 testing options,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. 

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