New model projections show that Vermont, West Virginia, Montana and Hawaii could open as early as May 4.
Other states, including Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Arkansas and Oklahoma, may have to wait until late June or early July.
Dr. Christopher Murray, model maker and director of the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said the challenge will be how to reopen the US economy and get people back to work without sacrificing mitigation.
“Every state is different,” said Murray. “Each state has a different public health system and different capacities. It is not a” decision for all “situation.”
The model now estimates a total of 60,308 deaths in the United States by August 4. This represents about 8,500 fewer deaths than expected on Monday.
While some states extended their home stay orders earlier this week, Jacksonville, Florida beaches and parks reopened Friday.
The beaches will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily with certain restrictions, according to the city’s website. Activities such as sunbathing or any type of group activity will not be allowed on the beaches during limited hours and items such as towels, blankets, chairs, coolers and grills will not be allowed on the beach.
Texas and Vermont have announced plans to reopen certain areas in the coming weeks.
“We have shown that we can get the coronavirus,” said Abbott, noting a statistic that Texas has “the second-highest number of Covid-19 recoveries of any state in America.”
Some states “can no longer wait for federal authorities”
Vice President Mike Pence said there were enough Covid-19 tests to reopen states as directed by the White House, with governors requesting federal assistance for the tests.
“Our top scientists and health experts believe that states now have enough tests to apply the Phase One criteria if they wish,” Pence said Friday during a coronavirus briefing at the White House. .
Pence said the administration would continue to scale up the tests as needed, calling on states to manage the tests.
While the American Clinical Laboratory Association, which represents commercial laboratories such as LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, has said that capacity is not an issue, others have said that critical shortages hamper testing.
Laboratories work “day and night to increase test capacity but are severely hampered by shortages of necessary reagents, test buffers, PPE and specialized equipment designed by companies for use with their own machines” said the Association of American Medical Colleges in its Monday Letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said he was taking it upon himself to make sure his state had everything it needs to get there.
“I can no longer wait for the authorities,” said Lamont.
Earlier, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that states generally do not have enough money to pay for tests and that his state does not have a “system” to manage the type of volume required.
New York has by far the most cases of coronavirus in the United States. Unlike hospital admissions and intensive care unit admissions, the death toll – 630 on Thursday compared to 606 the day before – “refuses to drop dramatically,” said the governor.
When asked if these states should lift their orders, Trump replied, “No, but I think the elements of what they have done are too much. It is just too much.”
Michigan had a big protest earlier this week about his stay at home order.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee said the Trump tweets encouraged “illegal and dangerous acts” and put people at risk of contracting Covid-19.
“His rants and calls for the liberation of states could also lead to violence,” Inslee said in a statement. “We have already seen it.”
How Federal Guidelines Work
The three-phase federal guidelines for reopening the economy are based on “trigger” criteria that states should meet before beginning each phase.
The criteria include a “downward trajectory” of Covid-19 cases over a 14-day period and a return to pre-crisis conditions in hospitals, according to a document describing the plan.
In the first phase, schools that are currently closed should remain closed, and employees capable of teleworking should continue to work from home. Large halls, including some restaurants and gyms, may operate under strict social distancing protocols, but bars should remain closed.
Phases 2 and 3 would gradually decrease the recommended restrictions. Vulnerable populations would remain sheltered until phase 3.
The phased approach encourages all individuals to “strongly consider” using face covers in public. And the document encourages employers to use social distance, temperature controls, tests and sanitation practices in their workplaces.
The guidelines are “healthy,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during a vital strategies webinar.
He and many other experts and officials, including governors, point out that more detailed plans on diagnostic tests, antibody tests and contact tracing are necessary before the economy can reopen safely.
“We need to find a way to get it tested (that is to say) widely, easily accessible, it’s independent of your insurance status, and it’s … aggressive … where there is potentially no cases, “said Dr. John Lynch, board member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said in a separate webinar.
States cautiously consider easing restrictions
“We have to do it right because the stakes are high. If we don’t do it right, the consequences are horrible,” Ohio governor Mike DeWine said Thursday. “It will be progressive. It will be deployed one thing after another.”
Vermont will begin relaxing the restrictions on Monday – but very slowly and with many caveats.
Some workers – construction, home appraisers, property management and municipal clerks – can resume work on Monday. But only two workers would be allowed per location, and they would have to wear cloth masks and maintain 6 feet of space, said Governor Phil Scott.
On May 1, farmers’ markets will be able to operate with strict social distancing guidelines in place, Scott said.
The number of new cases is declining in some states, but health officials have also identified new outbreaks. In New Hampshire, for example, clusters have been identified in three long-term care facilities.
Florida’s unemployment system has been so overwhelmed that hundreds of people have been added to state call centers to process claims. The workforce is 2,000, up from 30 a month ago, said Governor Ron DeSantis.
CNN’s Arman Azad, Maegan Vazquez, Amanda Watts, Elizabeth Joseph, Jacqueline Howard, Gisela Crespo, Kevin Liptak, Jay Croft and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.