Hit by coronavirus, US could start reopening in May
Battered by the coronavirus pandemic, the United States is looking at reopening some parts of its economy by May, the government's expert on the infectious disease hinted on Sunday. Expressing caution, Anthony Fauci, the veteran pandemic expert, said parts of the country could start opening next month while adding that the entire United States can't return to normalcy like a "light switch".
With highest death toll, US is worst-affected nation
The US is officially the worst-affected nation, as its death toll has surged past Italy, Spain, and China (the country where the virus originated in December 2019). As many as 560,433 have contracted the infection and 22,115 have died, making this pandemic the biggest crisis President Donald Trump faced. He is constantly berated for taking a lax approach towards the problem initially.
Trump's plans to re-start economy by Easter failed
Being overly ambitious, Trump said he was looking at opening the economy by Easter weekend, but that didn't happen. Churches indulged in online ceremonies and large parts of the country remained shut this weekend And now, Fauci has said the relaxations could "probably start, at least in some ways, maybe next month". However, he warned the virus could re-emerge later this year.
Take a look at what Fauci said
"We are hoping by the end of the month we can look around and say, OK, is there any element here that we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on? If so, do it. If not, then just continue to hunker down," Fauci said.
It's a target, said another senior official
Fauci's thoughts were echoed by Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Yesterday he told ABC's This Week, "It is a target, and obviously we're hopeful about that target. But I think it's just too early to be able to tell." Though there is light at end of the tunnel, several factors need to be considered before lifting restrictions, Hahn reportedly said.
However, expert warned a premature opening will render efforts useless
However, Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, warned that if curbs are lifted next month "we could be back in the same situation we are now". On CBS' Face the Nation, he said all the efforts of American people can't be thrown under a bus with a premature opening.
The local administration will decide when to end restrictions
Unlike most of the nations, the decision to end the lockdown in the States lies with local administration. Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, the epicenter in the US, said, "The caveat is we need to be smart in the way we reopen." And New Jersey's Governor Phil Murphy said the economic recovery is directly proportional to full-health recovery.
What US needs to do before reopening economy
Health experts have said that before the economy is reopened, the US needs to identify those who came in contact with positive patients and also conduct widespread testing. Since the virus has a 14-day incubation period, the economy shouldn't be reopened until there is a sustained reduction in positive cases for at least that long. The May deadline also seems ambitious currently.