As many states around the nation slowly start the process of reopening during the coronavirus pandemic, experts are saying that Memorial Day will significantly factor into the fight against the deadly virus. The holiday honoring U.S. military members who have fallen is widely considered to be the beginning of the summer season. Traditionally, citizens spend time having large gatherings and get-togethers, which could be detrimental to slowing the spread of coronavirus.
CNN reports that, by the time Memorial Day arrived in May 18, many states will have more significantly relaxed their social distancing guidelines. If this results in a slew of large gatherings taking place, it will also undoubtedly result in new Covid-19 infections for many citizens. The outlet notes that as the Trump administration's coronavirus task force continues to create guidance for the nation during this uncertain time, it could instate some new measures that would help keep citizens safe and healthy. Notably, the outlet cites Hokkaido, Japan as an example of what can happen if lockdown procedures are relaxed too soon.
In late-February, Hokkaido has the highest number of coronavirus cases in all of Japan. This led the governor to declare a state of emergency. He closed schools and urged all citizens to stay home as much as possible. On March 19, he lifted the state of emergency, as the crisis had stabilized. Many citizens began to go out and gather again, which caused the number of coronavirus cases to increase again. On April 14, the governor declared a state of emergency for a second time, and reimposed restrictions.
The U.S. has seen similar circumstances in some states, such as Georgia, where there were 1,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in the span of 24 hours, as the state was beginning measures to reopen. Georgia state Gov. Brian Kemp issued a statement to all residents, urging them to maintain social distancing and encouraging them to stay home as much as possible. "While the current shelter in place order will expire tonight at 11:59 PM for most Georgians, the elderly and medically fragile will still be required to shelter in place through June 12," he wrote in a tweet on Thursday, followed subsequently by another. "I encourage all Georgians to continue to maintain social distancing, limit their travel, and use best practices. Gatherings of more than 10 people will not be allowed unless it is possible to maintain 6 feet of distance."