With Virus Spreading in Homes, U.S. Governors Run Out of Weapons

(Bloomberg) — Governors and mayors have cracked down on schools, restaurants, gyms, nursing homes, places of worship and much more. But enforcement is proving almost useless in Americans’ homes, where some leaders insist that hang-out culture is a major source of pandemic risk.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is the latest to try: On Thursday, he declared regional stay-home orders whenever intensive-care unit availability drops below 15%. Earlier this week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered 4 million residents to stay indoors without visitors or face fines and imprisonment. And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is running ads warning of “living-room spread” — infection via small gatherings in homes and other private spaces that he says account for 70% of new cases.

That’s hard to confirm, though, in part because contact tracing, an effective public-health tool early in the pandemic, is no longer fully illuminating the path of the disease. Even before Wednesday, when Kentucky reached record cases and deaths, the 1,600-person tracing team was so overwhelmed that officials started asking residents to do the job themselves for lower-risk contacts. In Pennsylvania, only about 25% of people with the virus are cooperating with tracers; New Jersey is only slightly better, with about 30%.

Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease doctor, told ABC News last week that small groups aren’t as prominent a danger as, say, crowded bars. And even proponents of the most extreme distancing — locking down with one’s housemates — acknowledge that strong encouragement or even legal orders carry only so much weight against constitutional rights.

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Source: MSN