During the daily coronavirus task force press briefing at the White House on Thursday, April 16, United States President Donald Trump granted state governors the authority to manage their own state reopenings as well as laid out a three-phase plan on how to do so.
States with decreasing amounts of reported infections and who possess the testing capabilities are able to start reopening in the three phases.
The first phase will include the maintaining of strict social distancing, the avoidance of crowds beyond 10 people and non-essential travel is discouraged. The second phase would be underpinned by continued social distancing, the avoidance of gatherings above 50 people, but with normal travel resumed. And lastly, phase three would include a return to normalcy for most citizens, ensuring the proper management of any newly reported cases.
The guidelines stress that testing and surveillance data should be assessed from the previous two weeks before a state is to progress from one phase to the next.
According to an audio recording obtained by AP News, Trump told governors on Thursday: “You’re going to call your own shots. We’re going to be standing alongside of you.”
This comes after tensions between the state governors and Trump earlier this week, when the president claimed total authority on when to reopen the nation, after which governors of both parties have fought back and decided to collaborate to ease into reopening states.
The US has recorded the most novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) cases, with above 650,000 cases among over two million worldwide. A total of 34,641 have succumbed to the deadly virus so far and 57,844 have recovered as of April 17.
Furthermore, according to the US Department of Labor on Thursday morning, an additional 5.245 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending April 11, adding to the 16.8 million unemployment claims from the previous three weeks.