This Fourth of July is unlike any other in recent U.S. history. In many places, absent are familiar scenes of fireworks and get togethers, replaced by warnings and worry about the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has infected at least 2.8 million Americans and killed more than 129,000. But in other places, the celebration goes on, despite the risk.
At the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump hosted an Independence Day celebration with crowds of hundreds of people, despite the dire coronavirus case and death count. In other parts of the country, officials urged Americans to exercise caution this Fourth of July, stay home, and take extra precautions to contain this deadly virus.
As a result, people around the U.S. celebrated the nation’s independence in their own way. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, some of Trump’s supporters held a boat parade to support his re-election. Meanwhile, in Miami Beach, some stared at closed beaches through fences. The beaches were closed for the weekend, and there was a curfew.
This is how America celebrated July 4 during the coronavirus pandemic.
In Washington, D.C., National Park Service officials offered free face masks ahead of the Independence Day celebrations.
According to the New York Times, the White House set up tables and chairs for hundreds in the South Lawn for the president’s July 4 celebration. Per the Times, Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said that social distancing would be observed and that face masks would be offered, but not required.
There were few masks, which help reduce the spread of coronavirus, in the crowd.
Trump watched paratroopers float down with the American flag at the White House. The Associated Press reported that Trump greeted his audience, made up of front-line medical workers and others with a central role in responding to the pandemic, and began to rant and disparage his usual targets.
“We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and the people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing,” Trump said. “We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children.”
“And we will protect and preserve American way of life, which began in 1492 when Columbus discovered America,” he added.
The president did not mention how many people had died from covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the AP stated. More people have died from the disease in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.
Authorities in California took many last-minute measures to control holiday crowds, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fireworks shows were cancelled and beaches were closed in Los Angeles County, which includes Venice Beach, and Ventura County.
On Wednesday, Governer Gavin Newsom announced that the state would impose new restrictions on indoor activities, closing restaurant dining rooms, wineries, and card rooms for at least three weeks. The order affects 19 counties in the state.
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dozens of Trump’s supporters gathered in boats for a boat parade to support his re-election. The president’s supporters dressed in red, white, and blue and did not wear masks, per local reports. They were not alone, and clashed with protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Nonetheless, the U.S. president wasn’t the only one who wanted to make a statement and be heard in D.C. on July 4. Protesters gathered near the Washington Memorial to denounce police brutality and systemic racism.
Protesters also gathered at Lafayette Square.
In Miami Beach, Florida, people were allowed to go to restaurants but not to its famous beaches. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and postponed the opening of entertainment facilities, including movie theatres, arcades, casinos, adult entertainment, and concert houses, among others.
Gimenez said in a statement that people going to restaurants would have to keep their masks on while seated at their table, only removing them to eat and drink.
“We can only tamp down the virus if everyone takes personal responsibility and follows the rules,” Gimenez said. “That means practising social distancing, staying away from crowds and wearing masks everywhere you go in public, whether inside or outdoors.”
In Atlanta, Georgia, people attended the DraftKings All-American Team Cup, which began on Friday. The cup is the first tennis event in the U.S. to welcome fans during the coronavirus pandemic. After the event on Friday, player Frances Tiafoe tested positive for covid-19 and withdrew from the event.
“I am scheduled to have a second test early next week, but have already begun the quarantine protocol as advised by the medical staff here in Atlanta,” Tiafoe wrote on Twitter. “While I’ve been so excited to get back out there, the health and safety of everyone continues to be a top priority.”