The coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the United States, with confirmed cases passing 1 million and deaths passing the 60,000 mark. This week, however, brought intensified talk about reopening the economy in certain states, and discussions about the best way to go about doing that. The CDC also put out new guidelines for assessing symptoms of the virus, and the WHO released more hopeful information about possible vaccines.
When and How Should States Reopen?
The White House did not extend its social distancing guidelines past the expiration date of April 30; President Trump is instead telling governors to make their own decisions about reopening their states. Because our economy is facing its largest decline since the Great Recession of 2008, many are pushing to allow businesses to open in early May. Others worry that reopening businesses will bring on another wave of the virus.
One prominent voice encouraging reopening is Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the CDC. He said this week that activities can resume around the U.S, because we are “basically over the worst of this phase of the pandemic.” While he thinks that we can reopen the states and people can resume normal activities, he also said that he believes social distancing is still necessary.
Frieden suggested that a good way to begin relaxing guidelines is with outdoor spaces. “Yes, in fact, outdoors places are much safer than indoor places. Beaches, parks, bicycling, hiking. These are great things to do. They’re great for the spirit, and outdoors is a great way to reduce risk,” he added. “Now to have 100,000 people on a crowded beach, that’s a little different, but with sensible precautions, the great outdoors is a great way forward.”
States That Have Reopened
The first states to open up were Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina- even though they were the last ones to shut down amid the coronavirus. Alabama had one of the shortest-lived stay-at-home orders, which began on April 4 and ended on April 30. Other states that have relaxed their stay-at-home orders are Colorado, Oklahoma, Montana, Mississippi, Indiana, and Alaska.
So far in states like Georgia, more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported the day before the stay at home order was lifted, and another 1000+ were reported the day it was lifted. Expert models show that numbers will spike due to the stay at home order being lifted too soon, but only time will tell.
Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, and Arizona are set to slowly lift their stay-at-home orders throughout the end of May.
CDC Adds More Symptoms To The List
The most commonly known symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, shortness of breath, and fever. But the CDC has recently added 6 new symptoms to the existing list. They are:
- Repeated shaking
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
According to the CDC, symptoms will appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Trump Declares May “Older Americans Month”
Trump declared May “Older Americans Month” in order to shed light on the importance of “protecting America’s seniors.” One way the federal government is attempting to protect vulnerable seniors is by sending additional supplies to nursing homes. FEMA will be sending supplemental shipments of PPE (personal protective equipment) to 15,400 Medicaid & Medicare certified nursing homes in the U.S.
“That’s a spot that we have to take care of. I guess you could call it a little bit of a weak spot, because things are happening at the nursing homes, and we’re not happy about that. We don’t want it to happen,” Trump said.
WHO Says 102 Potential Vaccines In Works
The WHO says there are 102 potential COVID-19 vaccines being developed all around the world. Currently, there are 8 potential vaccines approved for clinical trials. Of the vaccines approved for human trials, 4 have been developed in China, 1 in England, and 1 in the U.S. A final vaccine has been a combined effort of American and European scientists.
Coronavirus Vaccine Doses Available By January
When asked on NBC’s Today Show about a possible vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, was hopeful. He said that since trials are already in early phases, there is a chance that there will be hundreds of millions of doses available by January 2021. He also warned, though, that accelerating production would be done “at risk.”
“In other words, you don’t wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing. You at risk — proactively — start making it, assuming it’s going to work,” Fauci said. “And if it does, then you can scale up and hopefully get to that timeline. I think that is doable if things fall in the right place.”