NEW YORK — Governors and mayors are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings that have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus.
Officials are banking on voluntary compliance since such measures are largely unenforceable.
Health experts say if people disregard the new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway, that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death after the holidays.
The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly double since the end of October, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. leads the world with 12.4 million cases and nearly 258,000 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.