The director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said that 19 to 20 US states may be ready to reopen by May 1. The comments come after President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that swaths of the United States could lift coronavirus shutdowns "very soon".
The United States is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak with more than 614,000 having tested positive for Covid-19, among which over 26,000 have died. Trump has been hinting at reopening the economy at the earliest but the fast-spreading virus has prevented him from doing so. Earlier on Tuesday, governors of 10 states from the East Coast and West Coast had said that they were formulating plans of opening business provided the virus doesn't spread much.
CDC hints at opening states
Robert Redfield, the director for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said that he believes that 19 or 20 states in the United States so far had limited impact from the coronavirus outbreak and that the governors too believed that they could be ready to reopen going by Trump's May 1 target date. Trump has hinted at a similar timeline a couple of days ago.
"There are a number of states - 19, 20 states - that really have had limited impact from it. So I think we will see some states that are, the governors feel that they're ready, we're poised to assist them with that reopening," Redfield said in an interview to ABC's Good Morning America. However, Redfield said that mitigation steps like social distancing and staying physically separated would like to have to be in place until a vaccine is developed.
Plans in line with Trump's timeline
Trump on Monday had said that he was nearing a plan to end US' coronavirus shutdown and may reopen the economy in some areas before May 1. The United States has been jolted by the coronavirus outbreak with millions losing jobs and businesses losing billions of dollars.
Earlier on Monday, Three states on the U.S. West Coast, led by California Governor Gavin Newsom, and seven on the East Coast, led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, said on Monday they were devising regional plans to reopen. In order to reopen the economy, all 10 Governors plan to follow a shared approach. These 10 states combined accounted for 38% of the country's total economic output in fourth quarter of 2019.
However, they said that first they need to "see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening" can take place. Per a Washington Post report, the CDC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have outlined a public health strategy to reopen parts of the United States, as White House's efforts to get the economy back in functioning continue.
What is the reopen plan?
The plan, reportedly, has been split into three phases. In the first phase, a national communication campaign and community readiness assessment will be done through May 1. Once it's done, in the second phase, emergency funding will be increased. Alongside, production of personal protective gear and testing kits will be given a boost through May 15.
In the final phase, the states will start reopening depending on the local condition like a substantial control over the spread of the disease. The plan also stressed on some mitigation measures that will be required to remain in effect. Per the report, the document warned: "Models indicate 30-day shelter in place followed by 180 day lifting of all mitigation results in large rebound curve." Hence some level of mitigation will be required till a vaccine is developed.