US states to extend lockdown measures despite Trump reopening economy
This is despite US President Donald Trump announcing the new guidance toward reopening the country. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 32,600 lives in the US in only a few weeks.
The governors acknowledged their social-distancing measures are helping tackle the spread of the virus.
At least 650,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US so far.
People across 42 states have been instructed to stay at home and only come out if strictly necessary as part of the preventive measures.
Schools, universities and non-essential businesses have also been closed in those the affected states.
At least 20 million workers have reported job losses, overthrowing financial markets in what is predicted to become the US’s deepest recession since the economic crisis of the 1930s.
President Trump hoped to start reopening the country on May 1 – despite health officials’ warnings that the number of coronavirus cases could spike after doing so.
The Republican president and officials of the hardest-hit areas have been bumping heads over how and when to reopen the economy, as Trump branded Democratic governors as “mutineers.”
Senior White House sources told Reuters that Trump had decided on an exit strategy with the help of health experts on his coronavirus task force.
The sources said the reopening plan includes suggestions as to when large public gatherings can resume as well as when bars, restaurants can continue their activity.
The recommendations are formed around data and include “certain medical-based metrics” that allow local authorities on a county-by-county basis to determine “where they fit,” one official said.
On Thursday, Gov Andrew Cuomo and six other East Coast leaders who established a regional pact this week to organise economic reopenings in their states – New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island – announced their current restrictions would remain in place until mid-May.
“What happens after that, I don’t know – we will see, depending on what the data says,” said Gov Cuomo, whose state is the US epicentre of the pandemic.
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The extensions came into effect even though New York’s figures suggest the pandemic is dying down in the area.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Thursday extended his state’s “safer at home” order until May 26.
He did make an exception for gold courses while allowing curb-side pickup and delivery activity to non-essential businesses.
It comes after last week Los Angeles extended the lockdown until May 15.
As well as the seven states in the East coast, seven other states in the Midwest on Thursday announced a similar arrangement.
The country’s economy is suffering the effects of the stringent lockdown measures imposed by governments as a further 5.2 million Americans filed unemployment benefit claims last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.
The total figure for unemployment claims made over the past month has passed 22 million.
Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor recruiting site, said: “Really, there’s no comparable event in American economic history,”
“This crisis combines the scale of a national, if not global, downturn with the pace of a natural disaster.”
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