Las Vegas is bouncing back, but viruses are also on the rise

Las Vegas (AP) —Sin City is back 15 months after the pandemic transformed Las Vegas from a glamorous sight to a haunted city.

Tourists flowed in again and gambling revenues reached record highs. The Las Vegas Strip has a new casino for the first time in 10 years. A big concert begins in a new stadium that shines brightly. The plexiglass panels installed to separate the gamblers at the poker and blackjack tables have been significantly removed, the world-famous buffet has been reopened, and the nightclub dance floor has been filled.

Vice President Kamala Harris has been set up to visit Saturday for what the White House calls the “American Back Together” tour to celebrate progress against the virus.

However, its progress is threatened. Nevada saw the highest proportion of new COVID-19 cases in the country this week, hospitalizations are on the rise again, and highly contagious delta mutants are in the state’s most prevalent viral form. .. The urgency of a campaign to get more people vaccinated.

Still, where the economy is moving with crowds and unrestrained behavior, the return to pandemic-related restrictions and mask requirements seems off the table.

Inside the casino, guests do not need to wear masks if they are fully vaccinated, but employees do not appear to ask anyone for evidence.

Teresa Lee, a 47-year-old tourist from Nashville, Tennessee, said when she stood on the strip watching the fountain in front of Bellagio, “everything seems to be back to normal.” It was. casino.

Lee said she felt safe to be vaccinated in Las Vegas as she read about the casino’s efforts to vaccinate their workers and their families.

“People are everywhere,” said 22-year-old Tyler Williams from Eugene, Oregon, who said he didn’t feel like a pandemic had happened. He said he had rarely seen anyone with a mask, except for a few foreign tourists, and felt that he did not need to wear the mask himself because he was vaccinated. ..

Las Vegas fully reopened and lifted most business restrictions on June 1, but many casino resorts have already returned to 100% capacity before that with state regulatory approval. I did. The number of visitors is not the highest before the pandemic, but it has increased by double digits for the fourth straight month.

The show and fireworks are scheduled for the weekend of July 4, and the new 65,000-seat Allegiant stadium, where the NFL’s relocated Raiders will begin this fall season, will host its first major concert by electronic dance music star Illenium on Saturday. I was planning to do it. Next weekend there will be a full capacity show from Garth Brooks.

Over the past two weeks, Nevada’s diagnosis rate of 190 new cases per 100,000 has been higher than Missouri, Arkansas, and Wyoming (low vaccination levels in all states), and the state’s public health institute. Found delta mutations in almost half of COVIDs. -19 cases analyzed.

Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of patients hospitalized for the virus is well below December levels when hospitals approached capacity, but has increased by 33% over the past week.

State biostatistician Kyra Morgan said on Friday that the surge in incidents could result from the full reopening of the state and city in June, with crowd returns and major events on the strip continuing to increase. Stated.

“If you know anything about COVID, you’ll know that when people are in close proximity to each other and in large numbers, it’s a recipe for increasing COVID infection,” Morgan said.

State and local authorities said almost all new cases and hospitalizations involved unvaccinated people, and the best way to attack the problem was to get more shots with weapons. According to the CDC, Nevada has fully vaccinated 45% of people over the age of 12, well below the national level of 55%.

“We are skeptical when it comes to vaccines,” Morgan said. “Frankly, there are many anti-boxers in Nevada.

State and local officials, Those who went to the point of holding a vaccine clinic at a strip club in May, They said they are trying to find more ways to persuade people, including the launch of cash lottery.

Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak, who took an unprecedented step to close the casino last 11 weeks after the pandemic began, joined the COVID-19 response team sent by the Biden administration to boost testing and vaccination on Thursday. An outbreak community that said they would seek help.

The Sisolak office did not answer the question as to whether it was considering imposing mask obligations or other restrictions, but officials in the Las Vegas area said that fully vaccinated people had no masks. It states that it follows the CDC’s guidelines that it is safe to go in.

“At this time, there is no discussion about tightening restrictions on business and social life here in Clark County,” said Dr. Fermin Regen, Chief Health Officer for the Las Vegas region. This problem at this point. “

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