On Sunday, public health officials discussed the possibility of partially reopening parts of the economy from government-mandated lockdowns as soon as next month, despite U.S. coronavirus infection and death totals continuing to climb. As of Sunday morning, there are more than 530,000 confirmed infections in the United States – accounting for roughly 30% of the more than 1.8 million people infected around the world. More than 20,000 Americans and more than 110,000 people globally have died.
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. climbed by nearly 200,000 over the course of the past week, however, White House officials are pushing to reopen the economy as quickly as possible, given the catastrophic economic damage that has unfolded by shuttering nonessential businesses across the country.
More than 16 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims during the final two weeks of March and in the first week of April. Gross domestic product numbers during April, May and June are expected to be among the worst in modern history. Some estimates see the unemployment rate climbing as high as 30%.
During an appearance Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a partial May reopening could be possible in some parts of the country. But he warned it would have to be done on a rolling basis – and that some particularly hard-hit parts of the country may need to wait longer. “It is not going to be a light switch that we say ‘OK, it is now June or July or whatever, click, the light switch goes back on.’ It is going to be depending on where you are in the country, the nature of the outbreak that you’ve already experienced and the threat of an outbreak that you may not have experienced,” he said, stressing that a reopening of the economy would not be “one-size-fits-all.”