GR US

California Heat Wave Raises Coronavirus Xoncerns

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this Sunday, July 12, 2020, file photo, visitors crowd the beach in Santa Monica, Calif., amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

LOS ANGELES — California is withering under a heat wave that has brought dangerously high temperatures, increased wildfire danger and fears of coronavirus spread as people flock to beaches and recreation areas.

High pressure building over Western states pushed temperatures into triple digits across the state by midday Friday.

Los Angeles opened cooling centers, but with limited capacity because of coronavirus social distancing requirements.

Health officers were worried that people will pack beaches, lakes and other recreation areas without following mask and social distancing orders — a major concern in a state that has seen more than 600,000 coronavirus cases.

Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Israel saw a COVID-19 resurgence after a May heat wave inspired school officials to let children remove their masks.

“People will want to take off their masks when it’s hot,” Rutherford said. “Don’t do it.”