With the nation nearing a long-awaited peak in the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday that a number of the more mildly affected states may be in a good position to re-open come months’ end.
According to Reuters, Redfield told the hosts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” that major regional differences in coronavirus transmission have been recorded, leading him to believe federal officials could be working as early as May 1 to advise executive branch leadership in nearly 20 states on their efforts to relax economically taxing social distancing guidelines.
Which states will truly be prepared to take such steps by that soft deadline remain unknown.
John Hopkins data, however, however, suggested as of Thursday that (in ascending order of their case numbers) Wyoming (with 309), Alaska, North Dakota, Hawaii, West Virginia, Vermont, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Idaho, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, Delaware, Oklahoma, Iowa and Kentucky (with 2,707) have accounted for the lowest totals in the nation.
“There are a number of counties within this country that have not experienced really any coronavirus despite testing,” Redfield said.
“There are a number of states — 19, 20 states — that really have had limited impact from it. So I think we will see some states that are, the governors feel that they’re ready, we’re poised to assist them with that reopening.”
The news comes less than one month after Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 19 announced introduction of the nation’s first official stay-at-home order, mandating closure of so-called non-essential business, barring large gatherings and encouraging decreased public activity for state residents.
Quickly taken up by 41 more states nationwide, similar stay-at-home orders would apply the brakes to a booming U.S. economy, as Fox News reported, prompting the loss of more than 22 million jobs almost overnight.
Congress acted on a bipartisan basis on March 27 to stem the tides of economic fallout, passing a historic $2.2 trillion relief package meant to bolster the finances of struggling American families, companies and government response efforts.
President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, however, have been adamant in suggesting legislated economic relief would only serve as a short-term band-aid for economic losses suffered amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.