Less Than 24 Hours After Trump Let Coronavirus Distancing Guidelines Expire, States See Spike in Cases and Deaths

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Less Than 24 Hours After Trump Let Coronavirus Distancing Guidelines Expire, States See Spike in Cases and Deaths

Yesterday, Donald Trump let federal social distancing guidelines expire, despite no state meeting his own administration’s guidelines for reopening. By letting these guidelines expire and pushing states to reopen, Trump is encouraging reckless decisions that will cost American lives needlessly. Already, in less than 24 hours, states that have reopened or are considering reopening have seen thousands of new cases and hundreds of coronavirus deaths. The fact of the matter is simple: Americans will lose their lives because of Donald Trump’s utter refusal to listen to experts.

More Than Half of States Will Lift Restrictions by the End of the Week, After Trump Let Social Distancing Guidelines Expire 

Washington Post: Reopening Of America: More Than Half Of States Will Lift Coronavirus Restrictions By The End Of The Week. “Many U.S. states are relaxing their restrictions, with more than half set to be partially reopened by the end of this week. But governors have taken different approaches to loosen restrictions amid the pandemic. Some states have formed regional pacts, working together to decide how to safely lift restrictions. Others have faced criticism for allowing nonessential businesses and recreational activities to start up again, despite cases continuing to increase.” [Washington Post, 4/30/20]

States That Have Chosen to or Are Considering Reopening Are Already Seeing Thousands of New Cases And Hundreds of New Deaths

Georgia 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Verifies 1k New Covid-19 Cases In 24 Hours. “State health officials have confirmed an additional 1,000 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing Georgia’s total infections above 27,000. As of noon Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health was reporting just over 26,000 confirmed cases. That number now stands at 27,023, according to data released at 11:25 a.m. Friday. At least 1,140 Georgians have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The health department verified an additional 33 deaths since midday Thursday.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/1/20]

Texas

Texas Monthly: Hours Before Businesses Can Reopen, Texas Reports Highest Daily COVID-19 Death Increase. “When Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas would begin on Friday to lift lockdown orders amid the coronavirus crisis, he said his approach would be guided by data. Seven and a half hours before the state’s stay-at-home order would expire, two new key data points emerged. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported fifty new deaths from COVID-19 in the state, the largest single day increase during the pandemic. For only the second time since tracking began, it also reported more than one thousand new confirmed cases. Under Abbott’s plan, retail stores, restaurants, malls, and movie theaters are allowed to reopen starting Friday, at 25 percent capacity. The plan to reopen runs contrary to the advice of Abbott’s own medical advisers, and comes amid polling that suggests that 78 percent of Texans are still concerned about being around others during the pandemic.” [Texas Monthly, 4/30/20]

KVIA: El Paso Reluctantly Lifts Stay-at-home Home Order Amid More Virus Deaths, Rising Cases. “El Paso city and county officials announced two new coronavirus deaths and 28 more cases on Tuesday evening while reluctantly lifting the ‘stay home, work safe’ order as of Friday to comply with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s directives to start reopening the state. While the city/county stay-at-home order will be lifted, local officials still strongly encouraged people to stay home except for essential activities and practice social distancing and utilize face coverings if they must go out. The latest virus deaths reported Tuesday evening, a man in his 50s and a woman in her 70s, brought the fatality count in El Paso to 14. The number of confirmed cases rose to 857.” [KVIA, 4/28/20]

Florida

Tampa Bay Times: As Florida Prepares To Reopen, State Records 47 New Coronavirus Deaths. “As most of Florida heads into the last weekend of a shutdown, the state recorded 47 new deaths tied to the novel coronavirus Friday, including six in the Tampa Bay region. Overall, 1,038 new cases of the virus were reported across the state, including 91 in Tampa Bay. Statewide, 34,728 people have confirmed infections from the virus, and 1,337 people have died.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/1/20]

Louisiana

Monroe News-star: Louisiana Suffers Startling One-day Spike In Coronavirus Cases, Deaths. “Louisiana suffered a startling one-day spike in coronavirus cases and deaths Friday. The health department reported 710 new cases, the most in days, and 65 more deaths, the second straight day that number has risen to 60 or more. The case count increase was more than double that of Thursday. Louisiana’s death toll now stands at 1,927, while the number of cases rose to 28,711.” [Monroe News-Star, 5/1/20]

Iowa

KETV: Iowa’s Positive Covid-19 Cases Soar By 740, 8 New Deaths Reported. “As of Friday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reports that there are 740 new COVID-19 cases and 8 new deaths. This brings the state total to 7,885 cases and 170 deaths.” [KETV, 5/1/20]

Alabama

Alabama Local News: Alabama Coronavirus Deaths Jumped By 22 Overnight; 150 New Cases, 44 In Mobile County Alone. “Alabama’s coronavirus death total jumped by 22 overnight, according to the latest figures from the Alabama Department of Public Health. Alabama has 241 coronavirus deaths, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Mobile is reporting 46 deaths, up 5 from yesterday, followed by Jefferson (+8); Lee (+1); Chambers (+1); and Tallapoosa (+8). Overall, the number of coronavirus cases in Alabama rose by just more than 150 cases overnight to 6,580. Mobile has the most number of cases in the state – 925 – jumping up 44 overnight.” [Alabama Local News, 4/28/20]

North Carolina

Charlotte Observer: SC Surpasses 6,000 Coronavirus Cases. Death Toll Reaches 244 Thursday. “In all, 244 South Carolinians have died after contracting COVID-19, a number that was bolstered after DHEC discovered that 29 coronavirus deaths went unreported. Overall, Greenville County saw the largest increase in cases Thursday with 36. Richland County posted 16, and Lexington County had seven. DHEC officials estimate that about 85% of coronavirus cases across the state have yet to be identified. Thursday, they projected that South Carolina has likely seen about 43,500 cases.” [Charlotte Observer, 4/30/20]

Missouri

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missouri Hits 7,500 COVID-19 Cases Thursday; Illinois Has Second Highest Single-Day Jump In Cases. “Missouri surpassed 7,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday as testing increased in the state, while Illinois reported its second highest daily rise in both deaths and cases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Missouri state officials on Thursday reported 137 new confirmed cases of the virus and 11 additional deaths. There were 7,425 cases and 329 deaths in the state by Thursday afternoon.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/1/20]

Make No Mistake: Lifting Restrictions This Early Will Lead to Deaths That Could Have Been Avoided

Washington Post: Fauci Warns States Rushing To Reopen: ‘You’re Making A Really Significant Risk.’ “With the White House’s social distancing guidelines expiring Thursday, leaving states largely in charge of deciding how to move forward, Anthony S. Fauci warned local leaders to avoid ‘leapfrogging’ critical milestones in an effort to reopen their economies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. ‘Obviously you could get away with that, but you’re making a really significant risk,’ Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday evening on CNN… ‘There’s no doubt in my mind that when you pull back mitigation, you’re going to start seeing cases crop up here and there,’ he said. ‘If you’re not able to handle them, you’re going to see another peak, a spike, and then you almost have to turn the clock back to go back to mitigation.’” [Washington Post, 5/1/20]

CNN: State Openings Bring Risks And Huge Stakes For America — And Trump. “A bewildering patchwork of openings and new distancing rules for restaurants, business offices, churches, dental practices and even gyms in some places will allow daily commerce to resume — whether workers and customers are ready or not. The easing of restrictions comes despite the fact that few, if any states, satisfy the White House guidelines of declining infections for 14 straight days before opening is contemplated. Some states, however, have flattened the curve of the pandemic.” [CNN, 5/1/20]

CNN: “The Jumble Of Conflicting Restrictions, Shelter-in-place Orders, Partial Openings And Businesses Firing Up, Also Reflects The Utter Lack Of A Coherent National Strategy On The Pandemic.” “The jumble of conflicting restrictions, shelter-in-place orders, partial openings and businesses firing up, also reflects the utter lack of a coherent national strategy on the pandemic. Trump has made quite clear that he sees it as the job of states to scale up testing and to supply their hospitals with protective gear while bringing the country back on line. The federal government should simply be a backup, he says. That attitude, and Trump’s botched call that the virus would never threaten the US, have exacerbated the pandemic in the US, which has killed more than 60,000 Americans and infected more than a million in just a couple of months.” [CNN, 5/1/20]

Washington Post: As States Reopen, Cities Are Staying Shut. That Could Mean More Coronavirus In Rural America. “Scott worries about exactly that — and more. His northwest Iowa city has rapidly become a coronavirus hot spot — case numbers were doubling every two or three days this week — as meatpacking workers fall ill. The nearby Iowa countryside, by contrast, has been relatively unaffected. But as those surrounding counties open up — even as his city of 80,000 stays closed — [Sioux City Mayor Bob] Scott worries his residents could inadvertently spread the virus beyond city lines.” [Washington Post, 5/1/20]

NBC News: Government Orders 100,000 New Body Bags As Trump Minimizes Death Toll. “The federal government placed orders for well over 100,000 new body bags to hold victims of COVID-19 in April, according to internal administration documents obtained by NBC News, as well as public records. The biggest set was earmarked for purchase the day after President Donald Trump projected that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus might not exceed 50,000 or 60,000 people… Around the same time it wrote the contract for the body bags, FEMA opened up bidding to provide about 200 rented refrigerated trailers for locations around the country. The request for proposals specifies a preference for 53-foot trailers, which, at 3,600 cubic feet, are the largest in their class.” [NBC News, 4/30/20]

Documents Obtained By NBC News Show The Coronavirus Task Force Worried About The Possibility Of A “Catastrophic Resurgence” Of COVID-19. “The cache of internal documents obtained by NBC News includes an April 25 ‘pre-decisional draft’ of the coronavirus task force’s ‘incident outlook’ for the response, a summary of the task force leaders’ meeting the same day and various communications among officials at several agencies. The documents show that task force members remain worried about several major risks ahead, including insufficient availability of coronavirus tests, the absence of a vaccine or proven treatments for the coronavirus, and the possibility of a ‘catastrophic resurgence’ of COVID-19.”  [NBC News, 4/30/20]

Washington Post: As White House’s Social Distancing Guidelines Expire, Health Experts Worry Mixed Messages Will Spur Public Complacency. “‘You don’t want people to misconstrue the expiration of these guidelines as a recommendation that it’s okay to go back to your normal life, because it’s not,’ said Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said that neither the agency, nor the administration had offered a clear explanation on why states could begin to relax such measures. He added that the CDC should clearly state that “as you start to reduce social distancing, there will be more cases of the disease.” [Washington Post, 4/30/20]

Any Fatalities That Result From Premature Reopening Will Sit Squarely on Donald Trump’s Shoulders

American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin Said The CDC Was Under Pressure To Defer To States Despite The Virus’ Rampant Spread Because Of White House Eagerness To Reopen The Economy. “Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said the CDC was under pressure to defer to the states despite the disease’s rampant spread because of White House eagerness to get the economy up and running again. ‘I’m not sure they’re being driven completely by the science here,’ he said. ‘They’re trying to do the best they can given that they’re being driven to some extent by the White House.’” [Washington Post, 4/30/20]


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