Have plans for Fourth of July? Better make sure they're not cancelled. The News & Observer reports that at least a half dozen cities from Redwood City, Calif., to Ithaca, NY, are already nixing Independence Day events amid concerns over the coronavirus. That includes the much-loved festival in Southport, North Carolina: "The July 4th Celebration in Southport has been an iconic event for over 200 years," writes Southport Mayor Joseph Hatem on Facebook. He recommends that "this celebration of independence and freedom be canceled to assist in stopping the spread of this contagious disease. This was a difficult decision, but the most prudent one and will ... save lives."
Other cancellations include St. Louis (Belleville News-Democrat); Redlands, Calif. (Redlands Daily Facts), and, in the Pacific Northwest, Portland and Fort Vancouver (Oregon Live). This jibes with a Maryland state health official's take on coronavirus numbers possibly peaking around July 4: "If that happens, that means we will have done our job because we have slowed down hospital capacity demands," said Webster Ye, per the Baltimore Sun. Similarly, the Washington Post quotes DC Mayor Muriel Bowser as saying the nation's capital expects hospitalized COVID-19 patients to peak in late June or early July. (Read more Fourth of July stories.)