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Public health officials warn that mass celebrations for Biden create a high risk of COVID spread

Public health authorities have issued warnings that mass gatherings to celebrate the presidential election being called in favor of Democrat Joe Biden could be ‘high risk’ events for the spread of coronavirus.

On Saturday afternoon, thousands crushed together in the streets of New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and elsewhere, celebrating Biden’s projected win of the presidency.

In New York, Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader who has scolded President Donald Trump for holding rallies during the pandemic, was spotted cheering in the street, a mask dangling uselessly from his right ear.

‘As a reminder, public celebrations where people are close to each other, unable to stand 6ft apart, cheering & shouting, especially without face coverings is high risk for transmission of COVID-19,’ the Los Angeles Public Health Department warned in a tweet. 

In New York, Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader who has scolded President Donald Trump for holding rallies during the pandemic, was spotted cheering in the street, a mask dangling uselessly from his ear

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gestures and shouts slogans in Times Square after media announced that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gestures and shouts slogans in Times Square after media announced that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election

Public health authorities have issued warnings that mass gatherings to celebrate the presidential election being called in favor of Democrat Joe Biden could be 'high risk' events for the spread of coronavirus

Public health authorities have issued warnings that mass gatherings to celebrate the presidential election being called in favor of Democrat Joe Biden could be ‘high risk’ events for the spread of coronavirus

A massive crowd gathered outside the White House to celebrate Biden's victory, despite a surge in coronavirus cases

A massive crowd gathered outside the White House to celebrate Biden’s victory, despite a surge in coronavirus cases

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams also warned in a tweet: ‘Gentle reminder to everyone- the virus doesn’t care about why you are gathering.’ 

It comes as cold weather descends on America and the country experiences a surge in new positive test results, possibly presaging a dark new chapter in the pandemic.

U.S. coronavirus infections surged by at least 129,606 on Friday, the third consecutive daily rise of more than 100,000 cases as a third wave of COVID-19 sweeps the United States.

The spike marks the fourth time that more than 100,000 cases of the new coronavirus have been reported in the world’s worst-hit country, which is reporting about 95,000 daily cases on a seven-day average.

Nevertheless, minutes after major television networks declared Biden the winner following four nail-biting days since Tuesday’s election, thousands streamed to the White House to celebrate outside a security fence as the sound of booming fireworks was heard in the distance.

‘I was on the bus and I jumped off the bus to come right down here to the White House,’ said Donna Thomas, a resident of Washington. ‘It is something to celebrate. We have been waiting so long.’

It comes as cold weather descends on America and the country experiences a surge in new positive test results, possibly presaging a dark new chapter in the pandemic. Above, people celebrate in Times Square

It comes as cold weather descends on America and the country experiences a surge in new positive test results, possibly presaging a dark new chapter in the pandemic. Above, people celebrate in Times Square

People celebrate Biden's win in Times Square. U.S. coronavirus infections surged by at least 129,606 on Friday, the third consecutive daily rise of more than 100,000 cases

People celebrate Biden’s win in Times Square. U.S. coronavirus infections surged by at least 129,606 on Friday, the third consecutive daily rise of more than 100,000 cases

A woman holds a Champagne bottle as she celebrates on Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House in DC

A woman holds a Champagne bottle as she celebrates on Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House in DC

In Los Angeles, people react after media announced that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won

In Los Angeles, people react after media announced that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won

Streets were closed to traffic as Biden supporters marched with an assortment of LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter and American flags. Some carried a giant balloon of Trump in the shape of a rat.

In nearby Dupont Circle, several hundred people formed a parade, playing music, singing and dancing and marched towards the White House to the sound of honking horns and clanging cowbells.

In Washington’s Petworth neighborhood, Kool & the Gang’s ‘Celebration’ and Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move on Up’ could be heard playing loudly as neighbors hooted and cars sounded their horns.

Though many celebrating on Saturday wore face coverings, the contrast drew accusations of hypocrisy against liberals and the media for turning a blind eye after months of slamming Trump’s rallies.

‘Is COVID over? Does this mean I can have my whole family over for Thanksgiving? This does not look like a CDC approved gathering. Or are super-spreader events just a label used for Trump rallies?’ one person tweeted.

‘So we’re just okay with the large crowds gathering in the streets right now knowing that Covid-19 could easily spread? That is completely contradictory of what Biden ran on,’ another chimed in. 

People celebrate the election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States in Columbus Circle in New York

People celebrate the election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States in Columbus Circle in New York

Joe Biden is the first candidate to displace an incumbent US President in more than a quarter-century

Joe Biden is the first candidate to displace an incumbent US President in more than a quarter-century

In the New York borough of Brooklyn, cars honked and people pumped their fist and cheered on the street. Large crowds formed near Prospect Park as well as in Times Square, across the East River in Manhattan. 

In Atlanta, shouts, cheers and fireworks rang out in the Democratic stronghold of East Atlanta Village as word spread that Biden was named the winner. 

In some areas, Trump supporters also gathered to protest, after Trump claimed, without proof, that he was the victim of mass voting fraud.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state that put Biden over the 270 Electoral College votes he needed for victory, about 100 pro-Trump ‘Stop the Steal’ protesters demonstrated in front of the State Capitol building, facing off against about the same number of Biden supporters.

Hundreds of Trump supporters gathered on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Saturday, waving Trump-Pence flags to shouts of ‘This is not over’ and ‘We will be here forever.’ 

On Friday, twenty of the 50 states reported record increases, the same as Thursday when the national daily total crossed 120,000 for the first time.

The Midwest remains the hardest-hit region based on daily new cases per capita.

People celebrate outside the Philadelphia Convention Center after Joe Biden was declared winner of the election

People celebrate outside the Philadelphia Convention Center after Joe Biden was declared winner of the election

People gather in Philadelphia on Saturday. The mass gatherings raised fears of a new spike in coronavirus cases

People gather in Philadelphia on Saturday. The mass gatherings raised fears of a new spike in coronavirus cases

People in Philadelphia gather as they celebrate media announcing that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election

People in Philadelphia gather as they celebrate media announcing that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election

Illinois, marking the highest total, reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, while record increases were reported in Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Also setting daily records were Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Some cities and states have imposed curfews or curbed gatherings to combat the spread of the virus, but the United States has taken no action at the federal level. Seventeen states do not require masks.

U.S. hospitalizations for COVID-19 rose for a 12th consecutive day, exceeding 54,500.

Texas, which accounts for over 10 percent of U.S. cases, reported about 9,000 infections and is on the verge of becoming the first state to exceed a cumulative 1 million COVID-19 cases.

Governor Greg Abbott said the U.S. Department of Defense has deployed three U.S. Air Force Medical Specialty Teams to El Paso.

COVID-19 deaths are trending higher but more slowly than infections. The United States is averaging 880 deaths a day, up about 10 percent in a week.

Biden has vowed to act against the pandemic on ‘day one’ in the world’s worst-hit nation. 

‘I want everyone, everyone to know on day one we’re going to put our plan to control this virus into action,’ said the Democrat president-elect who won’t take office until January. 


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