New CDC Guidelines in the US 2:22
(WAB NEWS) – Governors across the United States juggle as they try to reopen their economies without triggering a second spike in coronavirus cases.
For now, all but two states have loosened restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus. Some began allowing limited meetings, while others allowed restaurants and some companies to reopen their doors with caution.RELATED
And while many parts of the country have expressed hope that their number of cases is apparently slowing, other states have reported increases. So far, more than 1,486,000 Americans have tested positive for the virus and at least 89,562 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In Texas, authorities reported the highest single-day increase in new cases over the weekend, but the governor attributed it to more testing being done. Restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping malls have been open for just over two weeks, and the governor is expected to announce the next step in reopening the state, Monday.
In Florida, health officials reported 777 new cases of coronavirus, adding that state tests also increased last week, according to a statement released Sunday. On Monday, the state will enter its first full phase of reopening, allowing restaurants, retail stores and gyms across Florida to reopen with certain restrictions.
And in California, which is now in the second of four phases of reopening, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that while he was sympathetic to residents’ concerns, he wanted to move forward safely.
“I deeply understand the stress and anxiety people have, that entire dreams have been shattered by closings, their savings account is depleted, and their credit ratings destroyed,” Newsom told CNN Jake Tapper on Sunday. “The question is, how do you alternate and make significant modifications to the confinement order?”
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Where are the schools
The guide to moving forward often comes from local leaders. While most states announced that students would not return to school this academic year, a union representing nearly 1.7 million teachers has released a guide on how schools should safely reopen when they do.
“Once we have reduced the number of cases for at least 14 days with the proper evidence, reopening plans can go into effect on a community-by-community basis,” says an April report by the American Federation of Teachers. .
In their reopening plans, schools should also consider protections for at-risk staff and at-risk students, according to the union.
Maintaining healthy schools can also mean having to rearrange parts of them, including making classrooms smaller, staggering lunch hours, and developing alternative plans for some after-school programs, according to the guide.
“While our public schools do not have sufficient resources, and we must continue to fight to change that, the next two years are an opportunity to visualize what schooling looks like in a post-pandemic era, to ensure that every child has the opportunity prosper, ”says the report.
For regions reporting more new cases, it is unclear whether this is because more testing is being done or because the virus is spreading more rampantly.
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told Tapper on Sunday that the country had conducted more than 10 million tests for coronavirus, and that the federal government was now implementing rapid tests at meat packaging facilities and nursing homes, among other places.
Over the next few weeks, projections show that nearly 13 million tests will be administered, he said.
Once the pandemic’s epicenter in the country, New York is conducting around 40,000 coronavirus tests per day, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, adding that the state is doing “significantly more” diagnostic tests per population than other countries. .
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Authorities have said the state has passed its peak. And the governor said Sunday that two more regions, in addition to the five already in phase one of reopening, are close to starting to reopen.
Cuomo also said that his state along with New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware will open beaches for Memorial Day weekend, which begins May 22, with restrictions.
With staged reopens underway, a concern that remains in the United States is how accurate diagnostic tests are.
AdventHealth announced that nearly 35,000 tests to detect the new coronavirus, 33,000 of which were conducted in Florida, were deemed unreliable because one of the processing labs “was unable to meet its obligation.”
The company said it was “working diligently” to notify affected people by letter or phone call.
CDC on the sidelines of the pandemic
Months after the pandemic, experts are calling for the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to step up and lead American efforts to fight the virus.
CDC has been the leading agency in fighting recent pandemics and disease outbreaks, including the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic and the 2003-2004 SARS outbreak. But its regular coronavirus briefings stopped in March and the White House took over.
That was a mistake, Emory University faculty and staff wrote in a letter to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“If we want to win the battle against covid-19, we need scientific independence and the unwavering voice of the CDC,” the group wrote.
“For the past 70 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been our nation’s strongest bulwark against threats to public health. His set of skills, experience and scientific credibility is unmatched by any other national or global institution. The unrestricted and empowered CDC is fully capable of directing and guiding our nation’s evidence-based response to public health emergencies. ”
In an opinion column for The Wall Street Journal, published Sunday, the former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Scott Gottlieb, also suggested that the agency had been unusually quiet during the pandemic.
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“Whatever the reasons, the CDC has spoken infrequently and more reluctantly than usual in public health crises,” he said.
“The more information about how to reduce the risk of the spread and severity of the disease, the more lives can be saved and the more comfortable Americans will feel about starting to resume normal life,” he added.
Kristina Sgueglia, Kevin Bohn, Artemis Moshtaghian, Wesley Bruer, Maggie Fox, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Río and Arman Azad contributed to this report.