A White House document says 18 states are in the coronavirus 'red zone' and should limit gatherings, close gyms, and mask up

A White House document says 18 states are in the coronavirus 'red zone' and should limit gatherings, close gyms, and mask up
Trump Birx White House Coronavirus BriefingTrump Birx White House Coronavirus Briefing
President Donald Trump and the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, unveiling guidelines in April to reopen the US.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Alex Brandon/AP” data-reactid=”17″>Alex Brandon/AP

  • Eighteen US states are in “the red zone” for coronavirus cases, according to a White House document obtained by the Center for Public Integrity on Thursday.
  • That means these states reported more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past week.
  • The document, which had not been made public, recommended that red-zone states mandate public use of masks, close bars and gyms, and limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer.
  • Here are all the states that fall into the red zone.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s no secret that the US is struggling to contain the novel coronavirus.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Cases have surged in the past month, and the corresponding uptick hospitalizations and deaths has followed in hard-hit states like Arizona, California, and Texas.” data-reactid=”25″>Cases have surged in the past month, and the corresponding uptick hospitalizations and deaths has followed in hard-hit states like Arizona, California, and Texas.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Some states, like California, have partially locked back down in an effort to curb new infections — Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down all indoor activities and bars in the state on Monday. But according to a White House document obtained by the Center for Public Integrity on Thursday, what California is doing isn’t enough.” data-reactid=”26″>Some states, like California, have partially locked back down in an effort to curb new infections — Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down all indoor activities and bars in the state on Monday. But according to a White House document obtained by the Center for Public Integrity on Thursday, what California is doing isn’t enough.

California, along with 17 other states, is in “the red zone” for coronavirus cases and should consider implementing stricter policies to prevent further spread, the document said.

Those policy recommendations include mandating face-covering use at all times outside the home, limiting social gatherings to 10 people or fewer, and closing bars, nightclubs, and gyms.

The document was prepared for the White House coronavirus task force on Wednesday but hadn’t been made public.

“The fact that it’s not public makes no sense to me,” Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told the Center for Public Integrity on Thursday. “Why are we hiding this information from the American people? This should be published and updated every day.”

Which states are in the ‘red zone,’ according to the White House

Texas hospital coronavirus Texas hospital coronavirus
Medical workers pushing a stretcher with a deceased patient out of the COVID-19 intensive-care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on June 30 in Houston.

Go Nakamura/Getty Images

The document said the following states reported more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents from July 7 to July 14, which classified them as being in the so-called red zone:

  • Alabama
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  • Mississippi
  • Arizona
  • North Carolina
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Florida
  • Oklahoma
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • Idaho
  • Tennessee
  • Iowa
  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • Utah

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Over the past week, the US has added an average of 62,200 new coronavirus cases a day to its already staggering infection total, which passed 3.5 million known cases on Thursday. That tally was bumped up Sunday by Florida, which reported the highest single-day coronavirus surge of any state so far: 15,300 cases.” data-reactid=”64″>Over the past week, the US has added an average of 62,200 new coronavirus cases a day to its already staggering infection total, which passed 3.5 million known cases on Thursday. That tally was bumped up Sunday by Florida, which reported the highest single-day coronavirus surge of any state so far: 15,300 cases.

Most experts explain the surges of infections by saying states reopened prematurely — 21 states loosened lockdown restrictions in May without White House criteria for resuming business operations and social activities.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Those guidelines said states should see either a two-week decline in cases or a two-week decline in the share of coronavirus tests coming back positive before they reopened.” data-reactid=”66″>Those guidelines said states should see either a two-week decline in cases or a two-week decline in the share of coronavirus tests coming back positive before they reopened.

las vegas casinos reopen nevada lockdown coronavirus gamblinglas vegas casinos reopen nevada lockdown coronavirus gambling
John Landin of Las Vegas after winning a hand of blackjack during the reopening of The D hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas on June 4.

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The White House document obtained by the Center for Public Integrity also stipulated that 10 of those 18 red-zone states, plus Washington state, were also listed in the “red zone for test positivity” — meaning more than 10% of coronavirus tests in the states came back with positive results in the past week.

The 10 states on both red-zone lists were Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, and Texas.

Policy recommendations for states in the red zones

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="According to the Center for Public Integrity, the response coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, may have referred to a version of the document at a press conference on July 8.” data-reactid=”82″>According to the Center for Public Integrity, the response coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, may have referred to a version of the document at a press conference on July 8.

During the conference, she said the document was updated weekly and the recommendations for how to curb community spread were sent to state governors.

Those recommendations include encouraging state residents to limit their gatherings to no more than 10 people and to reduce their public interactions and activities to 25% of normal levels.

The document also recommended state officials mandate public use of masks, close bars and gyms, and create outdoor dining opportunities.

arizona coronavirus masksarizona coronavirus masks
A sign at Lake Pleasant in Morristown, Arizona, on July 4 reminding people to wear a face mask.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Christian Petersen/Getty Images” data-reactid=”99″>Christian Petersen/Getty Images

But governors in some red-zone states don’t seem to be following those suggestions.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed an executive order Wednesday banning local mask mandates in the state.” data-reactid=”101″>Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed an executive order Wednesday banning local mask mandates in the state.

“Any state, county, or municipal law, order, ordinance, rule, or regulation that requires persons to wear face coverings, masks, face shields, or any other Personal Protective Equipment while in places of public accommodation or on public property are suspended,” the order said.

Kemp’s order came a week after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta mandated masks in Georgia’s largest city. Kemp is also suing the city over its mask mandate.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read the original article on Business Insider” data-reactid=”104″>Read the original article on Business Insider

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