BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – In Alabama coronavirus as the caseload deteriorated as casinos, churches and more reopened, the state’s most prominent people had some harsh words about COVID-19 detention.
“You have to stay 6 feet away from me, and didn’t I tell you to wear a mask if you were in this building?” University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, who himself wears a “Roll Tide” mask, is teased by the school’s elephant mascot in a video released as the state reopened.
Perhaps, Saban̵7;s role – tied to the prospects of football’s fall in controlling disease in a state that is insane in football – will be the thing that makes people see the need for renewed vigilance in a place where life goes beyond which has returned to normal despite a deepening health crisis.
From the Gulf Coast to the sticky Tennessee Valley, Alabama’s political leaders and health experts are striving to make many residents aware of the ongoing social need, population limitations and wearing out mask after Gov. reopened. For Ivey most of the economy.
Cases have increased, but health officials said it was impossible to determine whether the increase was linked to further testing or an actual increase in the disease. But state statistics also show hospitals have been around since early April, with some health officials worried.
The situation in Alabama has been worse for the past 14 days, according to an AP review of data from The COVID Tracking Project. New daily cases increased to 307 from 268, and the rate of daily return trials was positively increased from 6.7% to 7.5%. AP used seven-day rolling averages to account for daily variation in test data. The data includes the numbers through Thursday.
In Jefferson County, the state’s most populous area with nearly 660,000 residents, officials noted the increase in cases and hospitalization Friday announcing stricter rules than Ivey had implemented.
Republican governors, like President Donald Trump, have not shown recommended behavior by regularly showing the public a mask. But he encouraged residents to do what it takes to intensify the spread of the disease while saying that a vaccine could someday be developed “right here in sweet Alabama.”
“It takes all of us, yes, being vigilant, and following our social journeys to stop the spread of this disease,” he said.
At this time, it is unclear whether Ivey’s calls for “personal responsibility” have a significant impact as businesses and other gatherings are opened with restrictions on capacity and hygiene.
Parking outside some Birmingham area restaurants and breweries is being refilled, and state beaches have been packed since reopening April 30. About two dozen adults and children the one filled with a reopened town playground; no one wears a mask, and no one cleans slides and swings between devices.
Some people try to stay 6 feet (2 meters), as required under state orders, but others don’t. In many public places, it is rare to see a covered face.
“When I went out to some retail stores, I noticed that people didn’t wear masks,” Dr. Rachael Lee, an infectious disease patient at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, at an online news conference.
Omar Mohammad, a 17-year-old who skipped his own end from Spain Park High School in Hoover because of the pandemic, said people seemed to lower their guard after state orders lifted restrictions.
“I’ve seen people like, ‘I can do my nails, so it’s not too bad,'” he said.
Leaders in Republican controlled, deeply conservative Alabama, like many states, are stuck between trying to revive a disruptive economy and prevent the spread of the disease.
As of Friday, more than 13,400 people tested positive for coronavirus in Alabama, and 533 died. Most people recover from COVID-19, but patients with other health problems and the elderly are particularly susceptible.
Meanwhile, state unemployment has reached levels not seen in decades. Alabama’s unemployment rate jumped 12.9% in April during the economic shutdown linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the worst in nearly 38 years, the state said.
The state’s overall health trend is worrying disease experts including Lee. Jefferson County had the highest number of cases this week, he said, and the capital of Montgomery, which houses about 200,000 people, looks like a hot spot.
“I’m really concerned about the numbers,” he said. “As we’ve been watching over the last few weeks, the numbers are on the same level or they are slowly going up.”
AP writer Nicky Forster contributed from Berkley, Massachusetts.
Follow the AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandOutbreak.