The New York City sheriff’s office said that it shut down two illegal warehouse parties — one attended by nearly 400 people in Brooklyn that was brought to an abrupt end early Saturday, and another that drew more than 550 the next day in the Bronx.
In Utah, authorities said “several thousand” people attended a large, rave-like gathering with multiple DJs on Saturday night that was discovered when a woman was temporarily knocked unconscious while crowd-surfing, according to KSL. Police also shut down numerous parties in the college town of Boulder, Colo., over the weekend, Denver’s ABC affiliate reported.
Meanwhile, hard-hit communities are bracing for a rise in fatalities that is already beginning to follow a sharp increase in hospitalizations. In Texas, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told KVIA on Sunday that the medical examiner’s office recently acquired its fourth “mobile morgue,” a refrigerated trailer used to temporarily store bodies. Officials are trying to find space in the office’s parking lot for the additional trailers, he wrote on Twitter on Saturday, adding, “If that doesn’t put our situation into perspective I don’t know what will.”
Thirty-three states spanning every region of the country saw their seven-day average of daily new infections rise by at least 10 percent in the week ending Sunday. In Maine, where daily counts virtually doubled, Gov. Janet Mills (D) reversed plans to allow bars to reopen on Monday and reduced the maximum size of indoor gatherings from 100 people to 50. “If we do not control this outbreak, we may never get this evil genie back in the bottle,” she said Sunday. Illinois, which averaged a record 6,367 new cases each day over the past week, expanded its restrictions to make a ban on indoor dining effective statewide.
Some public health experts worry that the number of new infections will continue to grow in the coming weeks if Americans insist on holding traditional large holiday gatherings. Thanksgiving “is really going to be an inflection point,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I think December is probably going to be our toughest month.”
Several European nations anticipating a similarly bleak outcome are reimposing nationwide shutdowns — most recently Germany, where restaurants, bars and recreational facilities closed Monday in a modified and somewhat less strict version of the lockdown this spring. At a Sunday rally in Michigan, Trump claimed that such “draconian” restrictions were not effective the first time around, and he criticized European leaders for shutting down the economy for a second time.
“Now they have to do it all over again,” he told supporters. “What the hell are they doing? I think I’ll go over and explain it to them.”
In Britain, where all English nonessential businesses will close on Thursday, Brexit Party leader and Trump ally Nigel Farage was equally critical of the new restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the weekend. In an opinion piece published Sunday in the Telegraph, he said that he planned to relaunch his party as an anti-lockdown group called Reform UK that will back a controversial strategy to pursue “herd immunity” by protecting only the most vulnerable.
England’s lockdown, which allows schools to remain open, will remain in place until at least Dec. 2. Speaking to BBC’s Radio 4 on Monday morning, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said that the restrictions were necessary because “the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case of our scientific advisers.”
Modeling suggested that the number of deaths would be even higher in the fall than in the spring “unless we acted,” Sunak said, according to the Daily Express. Sunak, effectively Britain’s finance minister, added that the rapid rise in infections in otherwise-unaffected areas of the country indicated that the National Health Service could be “overwhelmed” in a matter of weeks.
Tensions triggered by Europe’s surge in new cases are also mounting in other parts of Europe. In Spain, the government’s decision to impose a six-month state of emergency resulted in violent clashes over the weekend. Dozens of people were arrested and multiple cities were impacted, with Madrid reporting the most disturbances. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez condemned the “violent and irrational behavior” as “intolerable.”
Oil prices dipped Monday morning amid concerns that the new lockdowns in Europe could restrict travel and result in dropping demand for fuel.
Meanwhile, Slovakia achieved a new milestone by testing nearly half its population of 5.5 million for the coronavirus in a single day, Reuters reported. An astounding 2.58 million Slovaks were tested for the virus on Saturday as part of an ambitious effort that recruited more than 40,000 medics, police officers, soldiers, office workers and volunteers to staff roughly 5,000 testing sites. About 1 percent of the results came back positive, requiring 25,850 people to enter quarantine, Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď said Sunday.
Jacqueline Dupree contributed to this report.