Holiday amid pandemic: Americans divided on how to respond

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump visited one of his golf clubs Saturday at the start of Memorial Day weekend as he urges U.S. states to reopen after coronavirus-related lockdowns. Yet many Americans remained cautious as the number of confirmed cases nationwide passed 1.6 million.

In California, where many businesses and recreational activities are reopening, officials in Los Angeles County said they would maintain tight restrictions until July 4. Some religious leaders took issue with Trump’s declaration that houses of worship are “essential” and should resume in-person services this weekend.

“Being at the epicenter of this pandemic and in order to protect our flock, we advise that congregations remain closed until more accurate and uniform information is provided,” said Bishop Paul Egensteiner, who oversees the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s congregations in the hard-hit New York City region.

Rain dampened the start of the holiday weekend in the northeastern U.S., where newly reopened beaches had been expected to attract throngs of people and test the effectiveness of social distancing rules.

However, Trump visited one of his private golf clubs for the first time during pandemic — the Trump National Golf Club in northern Virginia. He has been pushing for state and local leaders to fully reopen after months after closures and tight restrictions.

Overseas, there was mixed news. New coronavirus cases in China fell to zero on Saturday for the first time since the start of the outbreak but surged in India and overwhelmed hospitals across Latin America..

In countries with weak health care systems, impoverished populations and not enough clean water, fighting the virus is increasingly difficult.

“I’m a mother, if I don’t go out and sell, my children won’t have food to eat. I am obliged to go out and come here to sell products, despite the danger that we are in,” said Nagnouma Kante, a market vendor in Guinea’s capital Conakry.

Turkey imposed its toughest lockdown measures yet starting Saturday for the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan, and Yemen’s Houthi rebels urged believers to use masks and stay inside, as authorities try to contain infections at a time usually marked by days of multigenerational feasting and collective prayer.