A lot of people will get sick, some will die, countless people will have their lives ruined, and the educations of large numbers of children will be permanently set back because some people consider being able to go to Hooters in person more important than public health or education, and many elected officials allowed them to do so:
Across the United States this summer, restaurants and bars, reeling from mandatory lockdowns and steep financial declines, opened their doors to customers, thousands of whom had been craving deep bowls of farro, frothy margaritas and juicy burgers smothered in glistening onions.
But the short-term gains have led to broader losses. Data from states and cities show that many community outbreaks of the coronavirus this summer have centered on restaurants and bars, often the largest settings to infect Americans.
In Louisiana, roughly a quarter of the state’s 2,360 cases since March that were outside of places like nursing homes and prisons have stemmed from bars and restaurants, according to state data. In Maryland, 12 percent of new cases last month were traced to restaurants, contact tracers there found, and in Colorado, 9 percent of outbreaks overall have been traced to bars and restaurants.
It is unclear what percentage of workers transmitted the virus among themselves, or to patrons or whether customers brought in the virus. But the clusters are worrisome to health officials because many restaurant and bar employees across the country are in their 20s and can carry the virus home and possibly seed household transmissions, which have soared in recent weeks through the Sun Belt and the West.
Since late June, scores of popular restaurants throughout the country, including in Nashville, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Milwaukee, had to close temporarily because of cases among employees. Texas and Florida also had to close bars this summer after a surge of new cases hobbled those states. In a recent week in San Diego, 15 of the 39 new cases in community settings stemmed from restaurants. And in Washington, D.C., cases have begun to sneak up since the city reopened indoor dining.
As many other countries have demonstrated it didn’t have to be this way, but America is a hard religion.