Gulf Coast’s beloved ‘Redneck Riviera’ now a virus hotspot

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GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Gulf Coast is glowing like a bad sunburn on maps that show COVID-19 trouble spots in red. Alabama’s coastal counties lead the state in new cases, and some events have been canceled in Florida and Louisiana because of the latest surge. Health officials believe the spike is due to a combination of some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates, unabated tourism, a disregard for basic health precautions and the region’s carefree lifestyle. They’re all occurring at a time when the mutated virus is more contagious than ever and conservative states are balking at new health restrictions.

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