According to the most recently released figures, the total confirmed novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) cases around the world are close to 2 million, with the actual figure expected to be much higher.
The worst-hit nations include the United States (587,173), Spain (170,099), Italy (159,516), France (136,779) and Germany (130,072). All these nations, besides Germany, have death tolls above 10,000, with the US and Italy exceeding 20,000 mortalities. The United Kingdom surpassed the 10,000 mark over the weekend, a milestone that UK Health Minister Matt Hancock labeled a “sombre” one.
This comes amid questions and discussions among governments over when to ease lockdown regulations and social distancing requirements. Spain, for instance, has started allowing some to return to work as the death rate starts to slow, while Italy has relaxed its lockdown restrictions. Italy’s day-to-day increase in infections was one of the lowest in weeks, indicating a general downward trend in confirmed cases.
Trump on opening US borders
US President Donald Trump’s national lockdown rules are set to expire at the end of the month and he has previously stated that it is a decision that he will make based on “facts and a lot of instinct” and one that he will make “fairly soon.” Trump has previously labeled the decision on whether or not to reopen US borders as the “biggest decision” of his life, stressing that none of the consequences of the deadly virus is “happy talk” for him.
Although Trump has stated that he would ultimately be the one making the final decision on whether or not to reopen the nation’s borders, governors are linking up with one another to reclaim authority.
In a tweet, Trump stated: “For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government. Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect… It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!”
US governors claim authority
In response to this, governors across the country made separate announcements, saying that they would join forces to coordinate the decision on when to reopen their respective states.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy explained during a conference call with reporters that, “The house is still on fire. We still have to put the fire out, but we do have to begin putting in the pieces of the puzzle that we know we’re going to need… to make sure this doesn’t reignite.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also said: “The optimum is a geographically coordinated plan. This virus doesn’t understand governmental boundaries.”
According to Murphy, New Jersey and five other states intend on collaborating to reopen their regions once the pandemic is relatively contained.
At a daily coronavirus task force briefing, Trump reaffirmed that his government and governors maintained a “very good” relationship, but highlighted that the federal government has absolute power to make decisions if it chooses to exercise its authority to do so.