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US States Tighten Coronavirus Restrictions After Rise in Cases


A bronze statue of late singer Ella Fitzgerald is seen wearing a hat and protective face mask, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease continues, outside the Metro-North Railroad Station Plaza in Yonkers, New York, Nov. 17, 2020.

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 said at a news conference Tuesday that the celebrations, which were scheduled to take place on Feb. 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."

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.

A day earlier, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds ordered all indoor gatherings to be limited to 15 people, mandated mask-wearing for people who are unable to socially distance from others indoors for more than 15 minutes, and said all restaurants and bars must close by 10 p.m.

Sioux Falls, the largest city in South Dakota, was set to vote on a mask mandate Tuesday evening. South Dakota currently has the highest positivity rate for COVID-19 in the country.

Maryland and Ohio also imposed 10 p.m. curfews on bars and restaurants on Tuesday.

FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020.
FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, called Tuesday for a more uniform approach to fighting the virus.

"We need some fundamental public health measures that everyone should be adhering to, not a disjointed, 'One state says one thing, the other state says another thing,'" Fauci told The New York Times, speaking from a virtual press conference.

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 rise in cases has put a strain on the health care systems with half of the country's states reporting new peaks in hospitalizations.

Some retailers have also reintroduced safety precautions on lines for customers to get into stores and set purchase limits on items such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper and disinfecting wipes to prevent hoarding.

WATCH: US States Add More Restrictions

US States Add More Restrictions as COVID Cases Exceed 11.2 Million
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Other commercial establishments, however, are seeking to increase business. Movie theaters in New York City are seeking permission to reopen, while restaurateurs in Massachusetts are trying to serve more customers at night.

In a phone call Monday with the nation's governors, Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the Trump administration's coronavirus response, urged the governors to tell residents the country has never been more prepared to deal with COVID-19. He said there is a large supply of personal protective equipment and cited promising early results from two vaccine candidates.

Transition team

President-elect Joe Biden told reporters Monday that the Trump administration's refusal to coordinate with his transition team has potentially dire consequences for the government's COVID-19 response when the new administration takes office in January.

Biden cited the task of distributing any vaccines that are approved, calling it a "huge undertaking" and saying that if his team is not given access to the current planning process then they will be "behind, over a month, month and a half."

"More people may die if we don't coordinate," Biden said.

Trump has refused to concede his defeat while he pursues long-shot legal claims that the November 3 vote was rigged against him. He has blocked administration officials from cooperating with Biden's transition team throughout government agencies.

Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States was one of the key issues in the election. National polls showed that voters trusted Biden more than Trump to deal with the pandemic.