Three US states have allowed some businesses to reopen under the watchful eye of the rest of the country and other governors weigh options as the coronavirus epidemic crossed another grime milestone with fatalities going past the 50,000 mark and infections inching up to a million.
The Trump White House continued Friday to deal with the outrage triggered by President Donald Trump’s suggestion to use household disinfectants to kill the virus inside human bodies as it does outside on surfaces. He himself tried to walk it back as a “sarcastic question” for reporters, which it was not.
Though the spread of the virus has slowed with a drop in new cases, hospitalization, the number of infections and deaths continued to climb. Reported confirmed infections went up to 905,364 with 36,188 more over the past 24 hours and fatalities to 51,956 with 1,995 more, which is the lowest in weeks.
As the situation has improved frustration has grown about the lockdowns and states are under increasing pressure to begin removing restrictions, either partially or fully. And calls growing more intense as the lockdown or variations of it are set to expire end of the month, on or around April 30.
Georgia, Alaska and Oklahoma allowed the resumption of some business activities Friday, under strict obligation to abide by social-distancing rules. South Carolina reopened department stores and flea markets earlier in the week, and, Tennessee has announced it doe they do not plan to extend the lockdown.
Hair and nail salons, spa, bowling alleys, gyms and tattoo parlors were allowed to reopen Friday and restaurants are set to reopen for in-dining next week in Georgia. Oklahoma has allowed salons, barbers and pet groomers. And Alaska has eased restriction on restaurants, retail stores and nonessential businesses, including hair and nail salons.
Georgia is being seen as a test case by many other states who are eager to open too but are being careful to not trigger a resurgence. Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, is being seen as rash and was publicly scolded by Trump for rushing into it, in defiance of the three-phase federal reopening guidelines.
New York, the epicenter of the American epidemic, California and Illinois remain under strict lockdown orders with their governors saying they intend to keep them in place.
New York is improving. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said deaths have declined, with 422 of single-day toll on Friday being the lowest since the start of the month. Toll for the state rose to 21,411 Saturday; with 16,646 in New York city alone.
Citing new research, the governor said Friday that the virus came to New York from Italy, which runs counter to President Trump and his administration’s efforts to blame China for the epidemic and that he may have prevented a larger spread in the US by banning travelers from China in early February.