Amount of Americans Strictly Social Distancing Hits New Pandemic Low

Two people wearing masks, on different benches, social distancing

Less than one-fifth of Americans say that they are still “completely or mostly” practicing social distancing, a new Gallup poll shows.

Approximately 18% of Americans are still strictly following social distancing guidelines, the lowest amount since the pandemic began last March, the Gallup survey shows. Social distancing participation peaked at 75% last April but has steadily declined since December, when coronavirus vaccines began to be distributed and administered nationwide.

Almost half of all Americans, 47%, said they have made “no attempt whatsoever” to isolate themselves, which is a pandemic high. But while 62% said that their lives were “somewhat back to normal,” only 15% said that their lives were “completely back to normal.”

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Biden, Northam Celebrate New COVID-19 Case Lows, End of Virginia’s Social Distancing and Capacity Restrictions

Virginia’s COVID-19 social distancing and capacity restrictions ended Friday morning at midnight. On Friday afternoon, President Joe Biden and Governor Ralph Northam highlighted Virginia’s progress on COVID-19 case numbers and vaccinations in a stop at Sportrock Climbing Center in Alexandria.

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Whitmer’s Administration Rescinds COVID Rule She Broke Days Earlier

Gov. Whitmer at restaurant with large group

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has rescinded the rule that Whitmer broke over the weekend.

Whitmer apologized Sunday after photos posted over the weekend showed her dining with at least a dozen others at The Landshark Bar & Grill in East Lansing, Michigan. Breitbart News first reported the news on Sunday.

Michigan’s May 15 order formerly mandated that no more than six people may be seated at the same table, and the governor has faced heavy criticism throughout the pandemic for strict COVID restrictions that have forced many Michigan restaurants and businesses to shutter their doors.

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Fully-Vaccinated Virginians No Longer Need Masks in Most Settings

Fully-vaccinated Virginians no longer need to wear masks in most places, including indoors. On Friday, Governor Ralph Northam updated his mask mandate, effective Saturday, to align with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released Thursday.

“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” Northam said in his announcement.

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Virginia’s COVID-19 Case Numbers, Hospitalizations Down to Spring 2020 Levels

Virginia’s COVID-19 case numbers hit a new milestone on Monday: just 336 reported cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health; the last time numbers dropped below 400 was in June and April of 2020. According to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, COVID-19 hospitalizations are low as well, with the seven-day moving average at 775 on Thursday; that number hasn’t been below 800 since late March 2020.

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Northam Expects to End Virginia’s Social Distancing Requirements in June

Governor Ralph Northam anticipates ending COVID-19 social distancing and capacity restrictions on June 15. In a Thursday briefing, Northam credited vaccinations with driving COVID-19 case numbers down.

“The data gives us a very clear message. The vaccines are working,” Northam said.

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Northam Announces Relaxed Guidelines for Social Gatherings, Sports, and Restaurants Effective in May

Citing increasing numbers of vaccinated Virginians, Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to take effect May 15. The new guidelines allow 100 people at indoor social events and 250 at outdoor gatherings, up from 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Other restrictions at restaurants, entertainment, and sports venues are also relaxed.

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Michigan County Experimenting with Social Distancing Guidelines in Schools

After a damning New York Times report in which a Virginia Tech virologist said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) six-foot social distancing guidelines appeared to be pulled out of “thin air,” one Michigan county is experimenting with three feet of social distancing in schools.

“The Kent County Health Department is in the middle of a study that officials hope will reduce the social distance requirements in all pre-k through 8th grade classrooms,” a WZZM report said. “During the six-week pilot study, any student that has been within three feet of a COVID-positive student for 15 minutes or more — within 48 hours — must quarantine at home for 10 days. Before that, quarantine was triggered at a distance of six feet.”

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Wedding Venue Sues Northam For Not Allowing Expanded Capacity at Outdoor Weddings

Outdoor wedding venue Belle Garden Estate (BGE) is suing Governor Ralph Northam over Executive Order 72.  The governor has begun relaxing restrictions on outdoor activities, allowing the lower of either 1,000 people or 30 percent capacity at many outdoor venues. However, outdoor wedding venues are not included in those relaxed restrictions.

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Out-of-Court Settlement Reached to Provide Space for Virginia Legislators to Meet With Constituents

On New Years Eve, Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) struck a deal with leaders of the Virginia General Assembly that will provide space for constituents to meet with legislators near the Capitol grounds even though the Pocahontas Building and Capitol Building remain closed to outsiders due to COVID-19.

DeSteph said the out-of-court settlement was a win. “This will allow citizens, subject matter experts, and other professional staff to meet face-to-face with legislators during the upcoming regular session. This is a huge victory for the First Amendment and for open access to government for all Virginians,” the press release states.

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Out-of-Court Settlement Reached to Provide Space for Virginia Legislators to Meet With Constituents

On New Years Eve, Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) struck a deal with leaders of the Virginia General Assembly that will provide space for constituents to meet with legislators near the Capitol grounds even though the Pocahontas Building and Capitol Building remain closed to outsiders due to COVID-19.

DeSteph said the out-of-court settlement was a win. “This will allow citizens, subject matter experts, and other professional staff to meet face-to-face with legislators during the upcoming regular session. This is a huge victory for the First Amendment and for open access to government for all Virginians,” the press release states.

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CDC Report Indicates Masks May Increase Chance of Infection with COVID or Other Respiratory Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last month in which the nearly 71 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 reported “always” wearing their mask. This opposed to the 4 percent of infected individuals who “never” wore masks.
The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 positively correlated with the consistency of mask-wearing. The report didn’t address the possible correlation between face mask hygiene and COVID-19 infection, such as proper handling and disposal of masks. It also didn’t differentiate the respondents’ mask types.

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Arlington County Enforcing Social Distancing on Crowded Sidewalks

Arlington County is beginning enforcement of a new ordinance mandating social distancing in some of its busiest areas. For now, the law is focused on three sections in the Clarendon neighborhood, a zone with several restaurants and bars. The ordinance requires pedestrians to stay six feet away from each other and to be in groups of three or less.

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National Parks Service Approves 50,000-Person March on Washington, Will Not Enforce Masks, Social Distancing

A permit for the 57th March on Washington obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation shows that organizers anticipate around 50,000 people will attend the Washington, D.C., event Friday.

The permit for the annual march from the National Park Service grants permission to “conduct a public gathering” to Rev. Mark Thompson and the National Action Network (NAN) to commemorate the 57th March on Washington despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has led to limitations on public gatherings.

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Health Professionals Advocate for School Reopening Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Health professionals nationwide released statements in a Tea Party Patriots Action Second Opinion Project email on Thursday that they believe schools should reopen and that it is the safest option for kids.

The consensus among the physicians, that kids would benefit academically, socially, and health-wise from schools reopening this fall, echoes a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released on July 10 addressing the issue of schools reopening in the fall.

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Commentary: Sweden’s COVID-19 Strategy Is Quietly Becoming the World’s Strategy

Sweden’s unique approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has been drawing a great deal of scrutiny for weeks, including both admiration and criticism.

The Swedes, unlike most other nations, have eschewed the hardline approach that has led to mass economic shutdowns and skyrocketing unemployment. Restaurants, bars, public pools, libraries and most schools remain open. While the nation’s “laissez-faire” approach has drawn rebuke from some quarters, it is also beginning to draw praise.

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