New York and other US states including California plan for reopening as Covid-19 cases ‘plateau’ in America
SEVEN Northeastern US states and three on the West Coast formed regional pacts on Monday aimed at coordinating a gradual reopening of their economies as the outbreak appeared to be starting to wane.
New York, by far the hardest-hit state, will work closely with nearby New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island to devise strategies for jointly easing stay-at-home orders imposed last month to curb coronavirus transmissions,
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “Nobody has been here before, nobody has all the answers.”
Separately, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington announced a similar agreement to devise a shared approach for lifting social-distancing measures, saying they need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening can take place.
The 10 state leaders gave no timeline for ending social but they stressed that decisions about when and how to reopen non-essential businesses, along with schools and universities, will put the health of residents first.
US President Donald Trump, who before the pandemic had touted a vibrant US economy as the centrepiece of his re-election bid, has pressed repeatedly in recent weeks for getting Americans back to work soon. Ahead of the governors’ announcement on Monday, he declared that any decision on restarting US commerce was his to make.
Legal experts say the president has limited power under the US Constitution to order citizens back to their places of employment, or to require cities to reopen government buildings and transportation or to order local businesses to reopen.
Political leaders said reopening of the economy may hinge on more widespread testing and cautioned that lifting of stay-at-home orders prematurely could reignite the outbreak. The Trump administration has signalled May 1 as a potential date for easing the restrictions.
The US death toll from Covid-19, the highly infectious lung disease caused by the virus, topped 23,000 on Monday, out of more than 575,000 known US infections.
The United States, with the world’s third-largest population by country, has recorded more fatalities from Covid-19 than any other nation.
At least 1,500 new US fatalities were reported on Monday, far below last week’s running tally of roughly 2,000 deaths every 24 hours. New York state accounts for the largest number of cumulative deaths, over 10,000, the bulk of them concentrated in and around New York City.
Cuomo said on Monday that “the worst is over” for his state but warned that gains achieved through social distancing could be undone if “we do something stupid” and relax those restrictions too quickly.