President Donald Trump gave governors a road map Thursday for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out “a phased and deliberate approach” to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.
The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak. And they largely reinforce plans already in the works by governors, who have primary responsibility for public health in their states. Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phase gradual reopening of businesses and schools. The guidelines recommend that states pass checkpoints that look at new cases, testing and surveillance data over the prior 14 days before advancing from one phase to another.
Meanwhile, Lawmakers are struggling to break a stalemate over President Donald Trump’s $250 billion emergency request for a small-business program, stoking uncertainty about when additional support will be available in a key rescue program now exhausted of funds. A House session Friday was expected to simply be a pro forma meeting. A Senate session quickly adjourned Thursday without any progress. GOP aides said that Mnuchin is prepared to accept additional funding sought by Democrats for hospitals, but that additional aid to state and local governments couldn't get approval in the current round. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to characterize internal party deliberations.
On Thursday, L.A. County reported 399 new coronavirus cases and 55 new deaths, the highest in a single day so far. This brings the total number of deaths in the county to 455, as the fatality rate rises to 4.2%. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer noted this was the highest daily total the county had reported so far in the outbreak.
With files from LAist and the Associated Press
Shruti Gohil, M.D., professor of medicine and associate medical director for epidemiology and infection prevention at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine