Global Statistics

All countries
145,435,751
Confirmed
Updated on April 23, 2021 10:57 am
All countries
123,722,143
Recovered
Updated on April 23, 2021 10:57 am
All countries
3,087,905
Deaths
Updated on April 23, 2021 10:57 am

Global Statistics

All countries
145,435,751
Confirmed
Updated on April 23, 2021 10:57 am
All countries
123,722,143
Recovered
Updated on April 23, 2021 10:57 am
All countries
3,087,905
Deaths
Updated on April 23, 2021 10:57 am

Trump unveils federal guidelines for reopening country

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Days after saying he intended to assert his authority to reopen the country, President Donald Trump unveiled new phased guidelines that allow governors in hard-hit states such as California to set their own pace for loosening stay-at-home orders.

In an afternoon news conference, Trump emphasized that any return to normalcy could look drastically different in states such as Wyoming, with few cases, and epicenters such as New York — but that his administration would help jurisdictions looking to reopen to do so as fast as possible.

“We can begin the next front of the war, which we call opening up America again,” Trump said. “We have to do that. America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open.”

That message came in stark contrast to that of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s. Newsom earlier this week laid out six criteria that will be required to roll back his statewide restrictions. Newsom doesn’t expect to lay out a reopening timeline for at least two weeks.

On Thursday, Newsom, who had just left a call in which the White House unveiled its guidelines first for governors, said that the president’s words were “in line” with what he was hoping to hear.

But he emphasized California is not yet out of the woods: Despite a modest decline from Wednesday in the number of patients hospitalized, the number in intensive care statewide was up.

“We need to continue to not just bend the curve but flatten the curve and then see these trend lines begin to decline substantially so that we can begin the process of toggling back and forth in terms of looser and in some cases more restrictive protocols to get back to some sense of normalcy,” Newsom said.

Trump’s guidelines aim to ease restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus while holding the line in worse-off locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.

“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump told the governors during the call, according to an audio recording obtained by The Associated Press. “We’re going to be standing alongside of you.”

The administration’s guidelines advise places with consistently declining infections and strong testing capabilities to kick off a gradual reopening of businesses and schools. Before a state or county could move from one phase to the next, it would have to see no evidence of cases rebounding for two weeks.

In phase one, for instance, the plan recommends strict social distancing for all people in public. Nonessential travel is discouraged. Telecommuting would continue, while schools, daycare and camps would remain closed. It would allow gatherings of up to 10 people, and restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, places of worship and sporting venues could open with “strict physical distancing protocols.”

In phase two, people are encouraged to maximize social distancing where possible and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people unless precautionary measures are taken. Travel could resume, schools and daycare would reopen, and large venues could operate with moderate social distancing. But visits to senior care homes would remain off limits.

Phase three envisions a return to normalcy for most Americans, with unrestricted staffing of workplaces and allowing the vulnerable and elderly to resume public interactions with appropriate physical distancing and sanitation measures.

In California, the timeline for implementing such changes remains unclear as cases and deaths continue to rise. Statewide, local public health departments reported 85 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, upping the toll to 970. Total cases climbed to 28,035, an increase of 967 from Wednesday, according to data compiled by this news organization.

For the first time since the pandemic began, Newsom said, the number of COVID-19 patients in California hospitals declined slightly Thursday, with 3,141 patients hospitalized. That represents a 0.9 decrease since Wednesday. Still, the number of patients in California ICUs increased by 1.4 percent to 1,191.

In the Bay Area, meanwhile, cases continued to climb upward. Alameda County surpassed 1,000 infections for the first time, reporting 43 new cases for a total of 1,007, and two new deaths for a total of 39. San Mateo County reported eight new deaths over the past 10 days for a total of 28, while its case count rose by 20 to 768. San Francisco reported six new cases but no deaths, leaving the totals at 1,019 cases and 17 deaths. Santa Clara County reported 40 new cases and four more deaths for a total of 1,833 cases and 69 deaths. Contra Costa County reported 16 new cases for a total of 631, with four new cases for a total of 18.

Newsom called the latest death counts a sobering reminder of the need to adhere to the state’s shelter-in-place order, which does not have an end date.

At earliest, Trump’s guidelines suggest, some parts of the country could see a resumption in normal business and social gatherings after a month of evaluating whether easing up on restrictions has led to a resurgence in virus cases. In other parts of the country, or if virus cases pick up, it could be substantially longer.

In briefing the governors on the plan, Trump said they were going to be responsible for deciding when it is safe to lift restrictions in their states. Just days before, he had drawn swift pushback for claiming he had the absolute authority to determine how and when states would reopen.

Seven Midwestern governors announced Thursday they will coordinate on reopening their economies. Similar pacts were announced earlier in the week in the West and Northeast. Even as the federal guidelines were announced, governors had begun setting their own courses. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that state’s shutdown would last until at least May 15, while Ohio’s Gov. Mike DeWine said he planned to begin lifting restrictions on public activities starting May 1.

“Not every state, not every region will do it at the same time — that’s clearly obvious with the dynamics of the outbreak,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci during Thursday’s briefing, adding, “Even if you’re in phase one, two, three, it’s not ‘OK, game over.’ ”

Trump also claimed Thursday that the U.S. has “built the most advanced and robust testing anywhere in the world.” But the need for more testing remains acute in California, where Newsom has set a goal of about 25,000 coronavirus tests daily by the end of April. Progress on that front appeared to be improving: After 12,200 tests were administered on Tuesday, the governor said around 18,800 tests were conducted on Wednesday, and labs have “substantially addressed” the backlog in test results.

“We’ll need to broaden still our testing capacity, broaden still our ability to do community surveillance in this state,” Newsom said.

John Woolfolk, Harriet Blair Rowan, Kerry Crowley and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Grand Jury Deliberations in Breonna Taylor Case Will Be Released

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