The Fourth of July holiday weekend brought with it renewed concerns about surging coronavirus infections in the U.S.
Rising cases in 39 states worried public health experts, who feared that Independence Day parties and barbeques could lead to a further spike in cases and more hospitalizations.
(NATSOUND) "I'm not touching anybody, I'm not breathing on anybody."
In the first four days of July alone, 15 states reported record increases in COVID-19 cases.
In Florida, cases have risen by over 10,000 for three out of the last four days, forcing hotspots like Miami to close down its beaches this holiday weekend.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez: "...my residents also kind of let their guard down around late May, early June, and also some of the protests that we had here, I think contributed to it. So we saw a rapid rise in young people in getting - being positive to COVID-19 around mid June. "
Cases are also soaring in Arizona, California and Texas and trending upwards in Midwest states that once had declining infections, including Iowa, Ohio and Michigan.
In Texas, the number of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized rose to a record 7,890 on Saturday compared with 3,247 just two weeks ago.
All of this as President Donald Trump at the White House on Saturday described the increase in cases as "totally harmless."
"...but now we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing we show cases 99 percent of which were totally harmless. Results that no other country can show, because no other country has testing that we have."
Mixed messaging from governments has been a major factor in people not following coronavirus mitigation recommendations.
Trump has refused to wear a mask in public and has been reluctant to encourage Americans to do so, saying it was a personal choice.
A July 4 celebration he attended at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota was "mask-optional" and had no social distancing.