By Wednesday, every US state will have begun lifting measures enacted weeks ago to curb the spread of coronavirus — though daily case rates still are rising in parts of the country.
The last state to lift some restrictions will be Connecticut, which is set Wednesday to allow outdoor dining spaces, offices, retail stores and malls, museums and zoos to reopen with restrictions.
The state hadn’t shut down some services or businesses that other states did, such as parks or outdoor construction. But Gov. Ned Lamont acknowledged the financial costs of the restrictions the state did have.
“I’m afraid there could be a sea change,” he told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday, when asked whether he calculated how many small businesses might not be able to recover.
“We’ll see whether people feel comfortable going back to restaurants. Maybe there will be more takeout. The world will change.”
Pictures from some parts of the country are now reminiscent of pre-pandemic times, with Americans venturing out to parks to soak in the spring sunshine, visiting beaches and gathering — often unmasked — in open bars and restaurants.
Yet as of Tuesday, at least 17 states have recorded a clear upward trend of average new daily cases — a rise of at least 10% — over the past seven days, according to an analysis based on data from Johns Hopkins University.
Only 16 states’ average new daily cases dropped more than 10%. Some public health experts say declining case rates should be one guide for figuring when states should relax social distancing restrictions.
So far, more than 1.51 million people in the United States have been infected and at least 90,432 have died, according to Johns Hopkins.
Just how loosened restrictions will impact coronavirus cases won’t be evident for a while.
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Experts have said it may take weeks to begin seeing the effects of more people being out and about. And public health officials warned those effects may translate to thousands more deaths across the country and a second spike of cases.
Reopenings appear to have the momentum for now, including, slowly, for sports without a crowd in attendance. The Belmont Stakes will be held June 20, officials said Tuesday. That means horse racing’s Triple Crown will start with what traditionally is the third leg, because the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes were moved to later this year.
Steps that governments did take to shut parts of the economy to slow the virus led to soaring unemployment — more than 36 million people have filed for unemployment since the middle of March.
In a Senate committee hearing Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said a program to lend billions of dollars to small and medium-sized businesses should be ready to launch by the end of the month.
Some universities will have in-person classes but end them by Thanksgiving
A growing number of universities are rolling out plans for what fall semester will look like.
At least five said this week they will have in-person classes this fall — but also that they’ll skip fall break and stop those classes by Thanksgiving.
In general, these schools are hoping to minimize the number of mass exits and mass returns — when students may pick up the virus elsewhere and bring it to campus.
The University of Notre Dame in Indiana and Creighton University in Nebraska said they intend to start their fall semesters early, skip fall break and conclude the semester before Thanksgiving.
The Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, president of Creighton University, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar that he believes the school can provide a very safe environment and they want to finish the semester before an expected wave of flu hits.
“We anticipate a flu season and a cold season coming up in late November, early December. That’ll be confusing for any of us to try and understand who’s sick and what do they have,” he said. “So trying to end this semester before that occurs, and in anticipation of the second wave of the pandemic, we want to get this semester started and ended on an earlier schedule.”
The president of Notre Dame, the Rev. John Jenkins, told CNN that residential life is very important and they will have off-campus facilities in case students need to be isolated or quarantined. He also wants to be able to test many people on campus.
“We have three months before those students are here. We have to work hard in these months so we don’t have it now, but we will come August,” he said.
It is unrealistic to think they will have no confirmed cases, he added.
“I know 18- to 22-year-old young people. Whether they’re on the campus or they are away, they’re going to congregate and they’re going put themselves at a bit of risk. Our challenge is keep monitoring them if they do get sick to make sure they’re taken care of.”
Purdue University in Indiana; Rice University in Houston; and the University of South Carolina intend to cancel fall breaks and end in-person instruction by Thanksgiving, and will finish the semester — classes and/or exams — online.
“The best information is that these viruses tend to return around the winter, particularly in possibly late November, December, maybe January. And so we wanted to be prepared for that,” Rice President David Leebron said Tuesday.
These and other schools planning for in-person instruction generally have talked about plans for diagnostic testing for Covid-19, isolating ill students, and keeping students more apart than usual in classes.
“I think students are so excited and so grateful to hear that Rice is willing to do everything that they can to get students back on campus safely,” Anna Margaret Clyburn, a rising senior and president of Rice’s student body association, said Tuesday.
These schools’ plans come a week after California’s two main university systems indicated their students are unlikely to have on-campus classes this fall, because of the pandemic.
Reopenings across the US
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that his state will allow Memorial Day ceremonies of up to 10 people — and that he hopes if they do happen, they’re broadcast “in their areas so people can be part of honoring that tradition.”
Earlier, he said New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut would all be opening their beaches Friday, ahead of Memorial Day celebrations.
The city of Miami on Wednesday will follow much of the rest of the Florida by allowing retailers to open at 50% capacity, with requirements including face coverings.
In much of Florida, restaurants, malls, libraries and gyms were able to open at 50% capacity on Monday. Barbershops were allowed to reopen as long as they abide by certain safety protocols.
Massachusetts entered the first phase of its reopening plan, giving the green light to manufacturing facilities, construction sites and places of worship as long as they abide by certain restrictions.
Texas intends to soon reopen more of its businesses. Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that child care centers, bars, bowling alleys, rodeos and bingo centers will be allowed to reopen this week.
By the end of the week, restaurants can increase to 50% capacity — compared to 25% when measures were first lifted. Bars, wine tasting rooms and craft breweries can open at 25% capacity, according to the governor.
The state reported its highest single-day jump of new cases over the weekend, according to numbers released by Texas Department of State Health Services. But Monday, officials announced the state’s lowest daily death toll since late March — a total of 11 new fatalities.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that some outdoor activities in places such as golf driving and shooting ranges, tennis clubs and community gardens would be allowed to resume with certain restrictions.
The state has recorded the second-highest number of coronavirus cases with more than 148,200 infections, according to Johns Hopkins.