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Americans ignore social distancing measures as US death toll nears 100,000

A pool party in Missouri has drawn criticism as the US's death toll nears 100,000. Source: Twitter 'remstarinc'

As the US nears 100,000 coronavirus deaths, some residents chose to ignore social distancing measures over the Memorial Day long weekend.

Some US residents have been criticised for ignoring social distancing rules over the Memorial Day long weekend, with photos of packed lakes and beaches emerging on social media.

Video of a party at a bar in Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks showed hundreds of people crammed into a pool and its surrounding deck.

Missouri's coronavirus guidelines say venues must adhere to social distancing measures by placing tables six feet apart and removing all communal seating areas. 

Backwater Jacks Bar and Grill hosted the event, the 'Zero Ducks Given Pool Party', and assured guests they would take "extra precautions and safety measures" to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

One guest said while the venue made hand sanitiser available for guests, social distancing was impossible.

"When we walked up my first words were 'oh my gosh' - it was intense for sure! Social distancing was nonexistent. However everyone was enjoying themselves," Jodi Atkins told CNN. 

The Memorial Day weekend that signals the start of the US summer is normally a time when cemeteries across the nation fill with American flags and ceremonies to remember those who died in wars.

This year the, holiday week is when the US death from COVID-19 is expected to exceed 100,000.

The New York Times filled its entire front page with the names and selected details of 1,000 victims on Sunday to try to capture the humanity of the lives lost.

"We were trying to capture that personal toll," Marc Lacey, the newspaper's national editor, said.

"We were trying to humanise these numbers which keep growing and have reached such unfathomable heights that they're really hard to grasp any more... This is about everyday people. It's about a death toll, reaching a number that's really just jaw-dropping."

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Around the country, the long weekend saw people sunbathing on beaches, fishing from boats and strolling on boardwalks, with the occasional person sporting a mask sometimes the only reminder that the world is still battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Few people wore masks on Saturday while walking on a crowded boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland.

A water park in Orlando, Florida reopened for the Memorial Day weekend.
A water park in Orlando, Florida reopened for the Memorial Day weekend.
Sipa USA Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images/Sipa

Masks were also a rare sight on other beaches, but people mainly kept their distance in small groups and avoided playing games like Frisbee and volleyball.

"Personally, I'm not sure I'm worried about that, but for those who are worried ... I suggest they stay home. I like to get out," said Bruce Clark at Daytona Beach in Florida.

A crowded Coney Island boardwalk in New York on Sunday afternoon.
A crowded Coney Island boardwalk in New York on Sunday afternoon.
AP

With additional reporting from Reuters. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus 

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