The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country in May despite concerns that the threat of the coronavirus will be far from over, The Washington Post reports.
Numerous Trump administration officials, and Trump himself, have complained about the restrictions.
“When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but allow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,” Attorney General Bill Barr said on Fox News.
The federal government has not closed down anything, allowing states to set their own policies, but the federal guidelines urge extensive social distancing through April 30.
Health officials have suggested that some parts of the country may reopen before other, harder hit spots.
“Health experts say that ending the shutdown prematurely would be disastrous because the restrictions have barely had time to work, and because U.S. leaders have not built up the capacity for alternatives to stay-at-home orders — such as the mass testing, large-scale contact tracing and targeted quarantines that have been used in other countries to suppress the virus,” The Post reported. “Even one of the most optimistic models, which has been used by the White House and governors, predicts a death toll of 60,400, but only if current drastic restrictions are kept in place until the end of May.”
Surgeon General pushes back:
Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Fox News that some parts of the country may be ready to open but the majority is not.
"There are places around the country that have seen consistently low levels. And as we ramp up testing and can feel more confident that these places actually can do surveillance and can do public health follow-up, some places will be able to think about opening on May 1," he said. "Most of the country will not, to be honest with you, but some will. And that's how we'll reopen the country: place by place, bit by bit, based on the data."
Pelosi warns Trump not to reopen too soon:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the president not to lift restrictions too soon, warning that it could harm the economy more than it would help.
“I would hope that the scientific community would weigh in and say, ‘You can’t do this, it is only going to make matters worse if you go out too soon,’” she said.
Pelosi said there needed to be a clear strategy for reopening the economy.
“What is it? Is it testing so that we know what we’re dealing with? Is it some standard as to how someone else would be received into a workplace?” Pelosi said. “We have to know. It’s data. And that’s something that I haven’t seen as the basis for any decision making. In fact, I’ve seen the opposite.”