More than half of the United States will be partially reopened by the end of the week when many states’ stay-at-home orders are set to expire.
(CNN)More than half of the United States will be partially reopened by the end of the week when many states’ stay-at-home orders are set to expire.
Governors across the country have been announcingwhether they will begin phased reopenings of their states when many of their order expire this week or wait a few weeks more. At least 28 states will have loosened coronavirus restrictions by Friday.
There are more than 1 million reported cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 60,966 deaths.
Florida is among the states that will soon reopen. Its restaurants and retail shops can let customers inside, at reduced capacity, starting Monday. The change in restrictions will not apply to Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, home to about 6 million people.
“These counties have seen the lion share of the pandemic, but they are trending in a positive direction,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “We are working with them and I do believe they will be able to move to phase one very soon.”
West Virginia will allow dentists to go back to work Thursday. Restaurants, churches and professional services, like salons, can open on Monday, with restrictions, said Gov. Jim Justice.
But other states are waiting longer.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced in a news conference that he has extended the stay-at-home order for the state until May 15. And while California has a plan for a phased reopening, the state has no set end date for its stay-at-home order and Gov. Gavin Newsom said that reopening schools and businesses is still “weeks away.”
Optimistic outlook on potential coronavirus treatment
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to announce an emergency-use authorization for the investigational coronavirus treatment, remdesivir, the New York Times reported, citing a senior administration official.
The FDA said in a statement to CNN Wednesday it is in discussions with Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, about making the drug available to patients. Gilead’s current supply of the drug could cover at least 140,000 treatment courses for coronavirus patients, CEO Daniel O’Day said Wednesday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, announced optimistic results of a remdesivir trial that began February 21.
“The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” he said in the Oval Office during a meeting with the President and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
But the researcher behind that trial told CNN that remdesivir is “not the end of the story” when it comes to treating the virus.
“We have work to do. We are looking for other therapies, this trial is going to continue,” said Dr. Andre Kalil, the principal investigator for the clinical trial, which was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. “In medicine, it’s never ending. We can always do better. And we want to do better.”
Los Angeles offers free testing for residents
Health experts have said states should ramp up testing for coronavirus in order to safely reopen.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee referenced testing Wednesday when announcing that the state’s stay-at-home order would remain in effect past May 4. nslee said the state can not reach its full potential of 22,000 tests per day.
“Unfortunately, because we don’t have additional swabs in the viral transfer media … we can only do about 4,600,” he said.
The state’s outbreak is disproportionately affecting the Hispanic community, which makes up 13% of the population, but represents 30% of coronavirus cases, Inslee said.
Meantime, Los Angeles began offering free coronavirus tests Wednesday night to all residents, Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a news conference. Los Angeles is now the first major US city to make that offer to its residents.
There is nolimit to the number of times an individual can request a test, and while symptomatic individuals are top priority, people can get tests without symptoms.
Garcetti initially said at the news conference that the testing would be open to city residents only, but according to a news release and the city’s website, all Los Angeles County residents can sign up for a free test.
“We have the capacity so don’t wait, don’t wander and don’t risk infecting others,” Garcetti said. “If you feel you need a test, get one. If you want to be safe, get one.”
There are 34 testing sites across the city and county of Los Angeles, with a capacity to test 18,000 people per day. More than 140,000 people have been tested throughout those testing sites, according to Garcetti.
A second round is ‘inevitable’
How the nation responds to this wave of coronavirus will determine how bad the “inevitable” second one will be, Fauci said.
If states begin lifting restrictions too early, Fauci says he predicts the country could see a rebound of the virus that would “get us right back in the same boat that we were a few weeks ago,” adding that the country could see many more deaths than are currently predicted.
CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Celine Gounder said Tuesday that before it is safe to list social distancing restrictions states should see a 14-day decline in cases and deaths, a hospital capacity for expected patients and the ability to do testing and contact tracing.
A University of Iowa study recommended maintaining mitigation efforts another two weeks to prevent another wave of infections.
CNN’s Steve Almasy, Christina Maxouris, Arman Azad, Elizabeth Cohen, Betsy Klein and Sarah Moon contributed to this report.