reopening schools

Reopening of schools will provide insight into coronavirus’ spread as optimism grows for a vaccine by the end of the year – CNN

(CNN)The United States on Wednesday surpassed 150,000 recorded Covid-19 deaths — a milestone that comes as the country’s rate of daily coronavirus deaths is the highest it’s been since the spring.

The first death in the US was reported on February 29. The country reached 50,000 deaths 54 days later on April 23 and 34 days later on May 27 crossed 100,000 deaths. It has taken 63 days to add another 50,000 to reach the 150,000 mark.
The country’s coronavirus death toll was 150,062 as of Wednesday afternoon — more than a fifth of the world’s 662,000-plus recorded deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“I think the fact that we as a country have not been able to get our arms around this, have not prioritized preventing those deaths is all that much more maddening. And so, for me it’s frustration, it’s sadness. And a resolve to try to figure out how we prevent the next 150,000,” Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“I think we can but we’re really going to have to work for it,” he added.
Some states are seeing their highest death tolls. California on Wednesday reported 197 Covid-related deaths in a single day, according to state Department of Public Health. That total far outpaces the previous high of 159, recorded just last week.
Florida reported a record 216 deaths on Wednesday.
Nationwide, the seven-day moving average of daily deaths rose above 1,000 on Tuesday — the first time since June 2.
And in 29 states, average number of daily deaths were at least 10% higher over the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins data.
As the US hits the grim milestone, a medical education association is warning that the US could see deaths skyrocket “well into the multiple hundreds of thousands.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges made that statement Wednesday as it released what it called a roadmap on how to contain the disease.
“Decisive, coordinated action is urgently needed to save lives, end the pandemic, restore America’s economy, and return our lives to normalcy,” Dr. David Skorton, AAMC president and CEO, said Wednesday.
Disease trends in the US are mixed: Deaths are increasing and hospitalizations are at or near peak levels, though new, daily reported infections are declining slightly.
But health experts have warned the death rate likely would rise as it is now, as a lagging consequence of a large spike in cases weeks earlier especially in the South and West.
Infectious disease experts say the country is at a critical juncture, as debates about how and whether to reopen schools for in-person learning rumble on.
Case rates rose as businesses reopened and distancing rules relaxed in late spring, and those wanting more normalcy soon should get more disciplined now by wearing masks, limiting outdoor dining and social gatherings, and closing bars, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
“It’s not going to spontaneously come down,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday in a call with several governors about the pandemic.

Group: Take these steps, or see deaths skyrocket

The AAMC’s warning said that “if the nation does not change its course — and soon — deaths in the United States could be well into the multiple hundreds of thousands.”
It did not say when this tally might be reached, or forecast the number more precisely.
Its plan calls for addressing critical supply shortages, expanding and improving testing, reopening schools safely, expanding health insurance and developing a vaccination distribution protocol.
It urges the Trump administration to invoke the Defense Production Act, or determine other means, to solve critical shortages in Covid-19 testing supplies and personal protective equipment; and to set targets for stockpiling supplies.
It also suggests ramping up Covid-19 testing capacity to more than 2 million a day and reducing the turnaround time for test results.
And it calls for “national standards on face coverings to stop the spread, especially by asymptomatic individuals, and make them mandatory in areas of growing community spread.”
The document also advocates “establishing and enforcing national criteria for local stay-at-home orders and reopening protocols.”
Other groups have released plans on how to end the pandemic over the past several months as states have employed a patchwork of approaches to try and mitigate the resurgent virus.
The AAMC says it represents all accredited medical schools in the United States and 17 in Canada, as well as 400 teaching hospitals.

Reopening schools may provide insight into virus

Schools that allow students back for in-person learning this fall will likely teach the nation even more about Covid-19, Fauci said Tuesday.
With schools closed since March and April, a knowledge gap has persisted around how young children experience and spread the virus, Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease doctor, said.
“Though this may sound a little scary and harsh — I don’t mean it to be that way … you’re going to be actually part of the experiment of the learning curve of what we need to know,” Fauci said during a discussion with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
“We don’t know the full impact,” he said.
Some schools are still deciding whether, when and how to reopen their classrooms. Researchers are only beginning to articulate how opening schools might contribute to the virus’s spread.
Researchers in South Korea, for example, found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can transmit Covid-19 within a household just as much as adults — but children ages 9 and younger transmitted the virus at much lower rates. Fauci said more research is being conducted, and much more is needed.
Although Fauci said that there is no “uni-dimensional answer” to how schools should reopen, he said that the “default position should be that we should try to the best of our ability to get the children back to school.”
Fauci encouraged teachers to wear a mask, cover their eyes with either goggles or a face shield, and maybe wear gloves to help create a safe classroom. He also said he believes a vaccine could be ready by the end of the year.
Certain states have issued plans to make in-person learning safer and online learning more effective.
Tennessee announced testing and contact-tracing measures within schools; Oregon set restrictions for schools that can allow students back; and Connecticut is investing $43.5 million in providing digital devices to help students learn remotely.
Indianapolis Public Schools‘ administrators said Wednesday they will recommend starting the school year with remote learning for all of its 30,000 students.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Wednesday she is encouraging her state’s schools to phase into in-person instruction, and is requiring that students from second grade through college wear masks in class.

Drug rumors distracting from ‘most powerful weapon’

As the nation waits for a vaccine, rumors that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine can act as a treatment continue to perpetuate, including in President Donald Trump’s administration.
But the drug has not been shown to be effective against coronavirus, and can even produce harmful side effects, former US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday.
“All the time that we often end up spending dispelling these myths around hydroxychloroquine is time that we are not spending working on solving the actual problem in front of us,” Murthy said.
And measures already in place to combat the virus’ spread could be the key to solving the problem, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Tuesday in an interview with ABC news.
“We have the most powerful weapon in our hands right now, I mean it’s an enormously powerful weapon. It’s just a simple, flimsy mask,” Redfield said. “This virus can be defeated if people just wear a mask.”

Numbers on the decline after face mask requirements

Although some states continue to see surges and set records in the numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Tuesday’s total of new cases across the nation stood at 61,660, slightly lower than at this point last week.
Kentucky, a state that is among the at least 41 to require masks, reported 532 new cases Tuesday and a 5.08% positivity rate, which has gone down for the first time in four days, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
“Again, too early to draw conclusions, but I hope I’ve said, I hope that this is us starting to see, because the time period is right, where the facial covering requirement is starting to kick in and help,” Beshear added.
In Florida, where daily new cases are declining, state officials reported a record in daily deaths for a second straight day. The state Wednesday reported 216 deaths, surpassing the previous high of 186 reported a day earlier.

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Debate reopening

Debate over reopening schools heats up – ABC News

Debate over reopening schools heats up – YouTube

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American reopening

Reopening American schools, and why Trudeau skipped a visit to the White House – CNN

This was originally published as the July 8 edition of CNN’s Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

(CNN)They might not admit it, but America’s kids need to go back to school. As the pandemic spirals out of control, the longest summer vacation on record is now threatening to become a lost year.

Donald Trump is here to help, though his new push to get kids and teachers back into germ-laden classrooms may be more about fostering a sense of normality to boost his reelection hopes. He is bringing the same defiance of science, politicization and wishful thinking to schools as he did to premature economic openings that worsened the Covid-19 disaster. “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” the President tweeted.
He’s not wrong. Months of missed lessons risk seriously denting the education of a generation of children. Experts fear that emotional and mental problems and even teen suicides will reach critical levels if schools remain empty. Millions of poor American pupils get their only square meals of the day at school. And online learning pulled together in a rush is a poor substitute for classrooms.
Trump himself doesn’t actually have the power to fling open school doors — in public education, the buck stops with states. But presidential pressure is a powerful force. One of his top allies, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has already said schools will be open all day, every day, come what may.
Most children don’t get that sick with Covid-19. But teachers braving the classrooms every day will be at high risk. And what happens when kids take the virus home to parents and grandparents? School administrators and teachers unions are developing schemes to mitigate the infection risk through smaller class sizes, part-time lessons and online education. But as states and cities roll back reopenings, it’s becoming harder than ever to envisage that the first day of school this fall will resemble any kind of “normal.”

The ‘Trump of the Tropics’ tests positive

It’s never too late to change your ways, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has learned after months of greeting supporters without a mask. More than 1.5 million Brazilians have been infected with the coronavirus, and Bolsonaro himself is among them, he announced Tuesday. “I’m not going to see anyone for meetings,” the President conceded to CNN Brasil after his diagnosis. “Everything will be done via videoconference and I will rarely meet people if I need to deal with more reserved matters.”

‘If you are an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data’

FBI Director Christopher Wray came out swinging against China on Tuesday, CNN’s David Shortell reports. “The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence and it can execute that campaign with authoritarian efficiency,” Wray said during a speech at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington. “If you think these issues are just an intelligence issue, or a government problem, or a nuisance largely just for big corporations who can take care of themselves—you could not be more wrong. It’s the people of the United States who are the victims of what amounts to Chinese theft on a scale so massive that it represents one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history,” he said. “If you are an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data.

Safe and sound north of the border

He would have likely been forgiven for skipping the handshake — but in declining an invitation to the White House this week, Justin Trudeau is sidestepping a whole minefield of Covid-19 etiquette and politics.
While Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador journeys to Washington for a celebratory get-together with Trump over the implementation of a new North American trade deal — the USMCA, which replaces NAFTA — Canada’s Prime Minister will be conspicuously absent.
He would have stuck out like a sore thumb, anyway. While Trump and López Obrador have never been seen in public wearing masks, Trudeau doesn’t leave home without one. For him, it would have been like risking a lunch with neighbors who you know aren’t taking the virus as seriously — which is not far from the truth, as López Obrador dismisses mass testing and Trump pushes economic reopening.
The curves of infection are moving in opposite directions in the US and Canada, and America’s new surge has put Canadians on edge. Polls show the vast majority of Canadians want the US-Canadian border to remain closed to nonessential traffic, and anyone who does enter Canada has to quarantine for 14 days. Trudeau might have been exempt after attending the trade meeting at the White House, but his staff would not have been — and their health and safety was likely a real issue in planning travel to the US. “We’re concerned about the health situation and the coronavirus situation that is hitting all three of our countries,” Trudeau said last week.
For weeks, Canada has been logging just a few hundred new cases of Covid-19 per day. Just like in the US, some younger Canadians are skirting rules — a few dozen people have so far been infected after a night out near Montreal. But unlike the US, Canadian contract tracing at such low numbers is viable and mostly thorough. A growing list of cities and towns are also helping to limit new outbreaks by making masks mandatory.
Skipping a trip to the White House was an easy call for Trudeau. He’s simply following the same coronavirus rule of thumb that governs all Canadians — don’t cross the border unless absolutely essential. — CNN’s Anchor and Canada Correspondent Paula Newton writes to Meanwhile

‘Donald was to my grandfather what the border wall has been for Donald’

Trump’s psychologist niece, Mary Trump, has a new book out titled “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” which argues that the President’s current behavior is the product of a toxic family dynamic and a bullying father. The demanding family patriarch, Fred, shaped the President by propping up his many failed endeavors, she writes: “Donald was to my grandfather what the border wall has been for Donald: a vanity project funded at the expense of more worthy pursuits.” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews responded Tuesday that “the President describes the relationship he had with his father as warm and said his father was very good to him. He said his father was loving and not at all hard on him as a child.”


Presidents fear one thing above all: Bob Woodward.
The famed reporter — half of the Washington Post duo who brought down President Richard Nixon (along with Carl Bernstein, who filed this blockbuster for CNN last week) — is on the prowl again. His last exposé, “Fear,” stunningly lifted the lid on the chaos and feuding of Trump’s early years in power. He has a new book coming in September, and this time around, the President is attempting to shape it by talking with Woodward, who has been spotted several times around the White House.
Every President since Nixon has had to choose between talking to Woodward as he ferrets around in the administration or trying to discredit his damaging scoops. Trump has plenty of other things on his mind right now, including his own teetering reelection prospects. But judging by the marker-scrawled note spotted in Trump’s jacket pocket on Tuesday by sharp-eyed CNN producer Kevin Liptak, Woodward is still casting his spell.

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California reopening

California is reopening too quickly, health officer warns – Los Angeles Times

A key architect of the nation’s first coronavirus shelter-in-place order is criticizing California’s increasingly fast pace of lifting stay-at-home restrictions.

In particular, Dr. Sara Cody, health officer for Santa Clara County — home to Silicon Valley and Northern California’s most populous county — said she was concerned by the decision to allow gatherings of up to 100 people for religious, political and cultural reasons.

“This announcement to authorize county health officers to allow religious, cultural and political gatherings of 100 people poses a very serious risk of the spread of COVID-19,” Cody told the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Even if just one infected person showed up to such an event, the virus could easily be transmitted to many people and overwhelm local health officials’ ability to investigate all related cases, she warned.

Cody has been credited with helping to spearhead the San Francisco Bay Area’s regional shelter-in-place order. Issued March 16, the mandate that affected 6.6 million people in six counties initially stunned the nation. But it quickly became a model for the rest of California and other states, with Gov. Gavin Newsom enacting a statewide stay-at-home order March 19 and New York state following suit three days later.

Santa Clara County, with a population of 1.9 million people, is not required to relax its order — among the strictest in California — to the state standard. When local and state orders differ, the stricter standard applies. But Cody expressed concerns that California risks a surge in cases if it reopens too many sectors of society too quickly.

Since early May, “the state has shifted away from the stay-at-home model and has made significant modifications with increasing frequency,” Cody said. “The pace at which the state has made these modifications is concerning to me.”

Cody said it’s important to wait at least 14 days — the time it can take for an infected person to show symptoms — after easing restrictions to see what effects the relaxed policy has on increased coronavirus illnesses. It would be even better to wait 21 days, she added.

Reopening so fast, she said, means there isn’t enough time to implement new procedures to make reopened activities safe.

Within hours of Newsom’s announcement Tuesday allowing counties to reopen hair salons and barbershops, some stylists already had customers in their chairs.

“Making changes too frequently leaves us blind. We can’t see the effect of what we just did,” Cody said. “Our social and economic well-being are best served by a more phased approach that allows activities to resume in a manner that allows people to actually be relatively safe while engaging in the newly open activity.”

Experts say the Bay Area’s early action dramatically slowed the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus in the region, which had been one of the nation’s earliest hot spots of the virus.

As of Tuesday night, the six Bay Area counties had reported a coronavirus death rate of six fatalities per 100,000 residents; Los Angeles County has a death rate of 21 fatalities per 100,000 residents. Statewide, California has a death rate of about 10 fatalities per 100,000 residents. Across the nation, New Jersey’s rate is 126 fatalities per 100,000 residents, while New York’s is 149 fatalities per 100,000 residents.

The latest rules issued by the California Department of Public Health this week say churches that choose to reopen and in-person political protests must limit attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.

New Jersey, by contrast, limits such gatherings to 25 people, and New York, 10, Cody said.

Newsom said Tuesday that he understood he would be criticized in deciding to allow religious gatherings to resume on a restricted basis.

“I know some people think that’s too much too fast too soon. Others think, frankly, that it didn’t go far enough,” the governor said. “But suffice it to say, at a statewide level, we now are affording this opportunity again with a deep realization of the fact that people will start to mix … and that is incumbent upon us to practice that physical distancing within these places of worship.”

Newsom has come under political pressure to allow churches to reopen. On May 18, he said rules to allow church congregations to meet were “a few weeks away … if everything holds.” Later that week, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the Newsom administration warning that the state’s stay-at-home order may discriminate against religious groups and violate their constitutional rights.

Also last week, more than 1,200 pastors vowed to hold in-person services May 31, Pentecost Sunday, intending to defy Newsom’s stay-at-home order.

President Trump then made an unexpected announcement that he was designating churches “essential” businesses so they could immediately reopen. Hours after Trump’s comments, Newsom vowed Friday to provide plans on Memorial Day that would allow in-person religious services.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that large gatherings played a major role in the early widespread transmission of the virus across the nation. In particular, the CDC said Mardi Gras celebrations in Louisiana, a biotech conference in Boston with about 175 attendees and a funeral with more than 100 attendees in small, rural Dougherty County in Georgia played an outsize role in the illness’ spread.

Churches have also been the site of outbreaks large and small. In Washington state’s Skagit County, one symptomatic person attended a 2½-hour choir practice at a church attended by 60 other people; local officials later documented that 52 people fell ill, including two who died — a virus attack rate of 87%, according to the CDC. Singing can easily spread infected droplets from one person to another.

In another outbreak, pre-symptomatic tourists from Wuhan, China — the global epicenter of the pandemic — visited a church in Singapore on Jan. 19 and started showing symptoms several days later. Three other people who attended the same church on the same day also got sick, including one who sat in the same seat as the tourists, according to the CDC.

Newsom defended his administration’s actions in moving quicker than the pace Cody suggested. The governor said he was guided by what his health officials were telling him was appropriate. He said the state has the time to test the theory behind the relaxed orders and “to make adjustments if, indeed, we need to dial it back, or loosen them more into the future.”

But Santa Clara County and its neighbors in the Bay Area have chosen a different approach. After the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara jointly decided to allow the resumption of all construction and businesses such as gardening and landscaping to resume May 4, the counties waited a full two weeks before allowing the reopening of many retail businesses for pickup service in the week of May 18.

By contrast, most other California counties have moved more quickly to reopen businesses as soon as Newsom has allowed it. Los Angeles County, for instance, joined most other California counties in reopening retail businesses for pickup service on May 8, the first day it was allowed.

Los Angeles County has also begun allowing the reopening of houses of worship and in-person political protests, shortly after state rules were relaxed. Retail stores and malls got the green light to in-person shopping in L.A. County but must operate at 50% of capacity.

By contrast, the six core Bay Area counties are still allowing retail stores to be open for pickup service only.

Cody also noted that the pandemic is disproportionately affecting communities of color and those who are most affected by poverty and overcrowded housing. For example, Latinos make up 26% of Santa Clara County’s population but comprise 40% of its coronavirus cases and 32% of deaths. Disease rates are particularly high in East San Jose, which is lower income and largely Latino.

Black people make up 2% of Santa Clara County’s population and account for 6% of the county’s coronavirus deaths.

“COVID-19 has unmasked some very severe preexisting inequities in our community. If we let the virus just go and don’t stay on top of it, the people that are going to be hurt the most are people who are living in places where they’re working low-wage jobs, they live in crowded households, they may have less access to care,” Cody added in remarks broadcast Wednesday on Facebook.

Reopening too quickly will disproportionately risk the lives of people of color and those with lower incomes, Cody said. “That is the group of people that will be disproportionately in the hospital and that will see disproportionate numbers of deaths. And that’s not acceptable.”

“We are going to suppress the level of transmission to the lowest levels that we can, with every ounce of our energy, and we are going to stay at it. We’re going to go slow, and we’re going to be safe, and we’re going to protect the people that most need to be protected,” Cody said.

She said if the overall rate of disease transmission remains stable in the Bay Area, officials will be able to continue easing restrictions on a regular schedule with at least two weeks between each phase.

“We all want to reopen our economy, get back to our lives, get back to work,” Cody said. “But the truth is: We are in the greatest global crisis since the Second World War…. We want to be able to reopen safely.”

Times staff writers Phil Willon, Eli Stokols, Matthew Ormseth and Alex Wigglesworth contributed to this report.

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First reopening

How first day of reopening went for Ford, GM, FCA autoworkers in Metro Detroit – WDIV ClickOnDetroit

Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler get plants rolling again

DETROIT – Thousands of Metro Detroit autoworkers were back on the job Monday as Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler assembly plants started rolling again.

Plants reopened with strict safety measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). There are also fewer people in the plants.

Monday’s reopening went about as smoothly as the companies could have hoped after being shut down for almost two months. The plants opened and everything slowed down, but in the end, there weren’t many complaints.

Entries and exits were the major concern. At the Warren Truck Assembly Plant, UAW line workers were pleasantly surprised.

“They had actual thermometers in the ceiling, the top of the ceiling, so when you walked through, it could take your temperature” Kenyatta Covington, of UAW Local 140, said. “All the safety measures were awesome.”

Workers clocked in at 5 a.m. and left at 1 p.m. Dennis Donald, of UAW Local 140, said his colleagues were respectful and the company did a lot of cleaning.

“In my area, it was about the same — I mean, a lot slower,” Donald said. “We might have done like 100 trucks. Usually, we do 400. So it’s real slow right now. Now, the masks, the safety glasses — everyone has to wear them. I agree with that. Other than that, it was pretty much the same.”

Workers at Ford’s Dearborn Assembly Plant also had positive impressions.

“It’s a learning curve, it’s different,” said Lamont Williams, of UAW Local 600. “We’ve got a lot of new safety precautions in place. The mask is difficult to wear. It fogs your glasses up, but we’re going to be alright.”

“It was safe,” said Moses Brooks, of UAW Local 600. “A little hectic, though, for the first day. Very hectic.”

Arnett Weatherspoon, of UAW Local 140, said the first day went smoothly at the Warren Truck Plant, but he still has concerns.

“I just feel we shouldn’t be here working with the virus still out there, but it is what it is,” Weatherspoon said.

In all, 50 plants opened Monday. All the companies said Monday was a success. The second shift workers at the Ford F-150 plant were also in line getting ready for their shift.

General Motors brought in the first shift this week and will bring in the second shift next week.

Dundee Engine, Flat Rock and Lansing Grand River are set to open on May 26. The plants in Canada are expected to open Tuesday.

Copyright 2020 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

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Chicago reopening

Reopening Chicago: Lightfoot says restaurants may reopen in June – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

May 15, 2020 5:37 PM

Chicago restaurants might be able to reopen in June and residents may be allowed to sit outside enjoying music, theater and other outdoor activities, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday.

Lightfoot also told the Tribune she will eventually reopen the lakefront, though it’s too soon to say when.

The mayor made the comments during a wide-ranging interview with the Tribune during which she said the city will “be in a position to see some form of summer life start in June.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot talks during an interview in her office, May 15, 2src2src.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot talks during an interview in her office, May 15, 2020. (Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune)

Asked to elaborate, Lightfoot said, “I see a world in which restaurants can reopen cautiously in June. I see a world over the course of the summer where people can sit outside and enjoy music and theater and other outdoor activities. I think we’re going to come up with some very creative ways in which those things can happen.”

In making any decisions, Lightfoot said the city will be guided by the public health metrics her administration announced earlier this month “but we’re trending in the right direction.”

“I know people are anxious to get back outside and there’s a lot we’re learning around why being outside is much better than being cooped up inside … so I am pressing my team and the people that we’re in conversation with, the recovery task force, to really think expansively about opportunities to do that,” Lightfoot said.

Earlier this month, Lightfoot laid out a five-phase plan that layers additional standards for rates of infection and testing capacity on top of the state rules Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled earlier. As with Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan, Lightfoot’s framework sets a high bar for returning to normalcy.

Lightfoot can’t set looser standards than the statewide ones laid out by the governor, but she can tailor them to the city.

Under Lightfoot’s plan, the city also would need to be able to test 135,000 residents per month, with positive rates decreasing below 15% of those tested in the community and at least 14 days of declining rates of new cases, on average. Positive rates of below 30% would be needed in “congregate” settings such as nursing homes, shelters and jails, according to the Lightfoot plan.

Those standards are stricter than what Pritzker laid out in his statewide plan. The governor called for positive rates at or below 20% and an increase in the positive rate of no more than 10 percentage points over 14 days.

But one key simmering issue has been how the city and state will address restaurant reopenings in coming weeks. Pritzker’s rules for reopening have been criticized by Illinois Restaurant Association head Sam Toia as too strict, while Lightfoot has included Toia on a coronavirus recovery task force and repeatedly expressed concerns about mom and pop restaurants going out of business.

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Lightfoot likely will need some buy-in from Pritzker to make reopenings happen.

During the Tribune interview, Lightfoot also said the lakefront will eventually reopen, but couldn’t give a time frame.

“It’s not going to reopen probably as fast as people want it to, and it’s definitely going to reopen at least initially with a lot of restrictions around it, but the lakefront is the jewel of our city,” Lightfoot said.

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California reopening

Reopening California: Bay Area to keep stay-at-home order – Los Angeles Times

The Bay Area’s stay-at-home orders will continue to be enforced even as Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to announce potentially more relaxed statewide guidelines, San Francisco city officials said Wednesday.

During a news conference, Mayor London Breed said the city has been working to learn the exact details of Newsom’s new guidelines, but she stressed that that Bay Area health officers can continue to order tighter restrictions.

The reason has “everything to do” with the numbers of cases and deaths in the Bay Area, she said.

“The numbers are still going up,” she said. “The number of deaths are still going up, and we have not lowered the curve, and we have to be mindful of that.”

“The more that people have interactions with other people,” she added, “the [greater the] likelihood that other folks will continue to get infected.”

Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s public health director, said one of the goals that needs to be met before reopening is the ability to trace contacts of infected people and test them for the coronavirus.

“We are still building our surveillance system across the Bay Area,” he said. To do that, local officials are working with scientists from the city’s public hospital, UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley.

“We must hold steady and let the data guide us,” he said.

He said city officials have been asked many questions about how Newsom’s new guidelines will affect San Francisco.

“Let me be clear, the San Francisco and Bay Area health orders currently do not permit curbside pickup from nonessential retailers,” he said. Restrictive orders take precedence over more relaxed guidelines, he added.

In response to reporters’ questions, he urged people not to visit family on Mother’s Day, even if wearing masks and keeping six feet apart.

Unless residents live in the same households with their mothers, “the greatest gift we can give to our mothers this Mother’s Day is to stay away,” he said. “Don’t go visit your mom in person this year.”

He said 27,334 residents had been tested for the virus as of Wednesday, and about 8% were positive.

City officials also announced that the homeless population in San Francisco has grown during the pandemic. Homeless individuals from other counties have moved to the city in search of hotel rooms, which the city has leased for the most vulnerable members of its longtime homeless population.

The city is now working to move some street and sidewalk tent encampments in the low-income Tenderloin district to other sites and will close some streets so people in tents can socially distance, officials said.

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Newsom reopening

Newsom: Reopening Yuba, Sutter counties a ‘big mistake’ – Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday criticized two rural Northern California counties that are allowing businesses and restaurants to reopen, saying their decision to defy his statewide stay-at-home order has put their communities at increased risk for a new coronavirus outbreak.

Sutter and Yuba counties, both north of Sacramento, allowed businesses to reopen on Monday after a similar decision was made in Modoc County in California’s northeastern corner. Officials in the three counties argued that they were less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than hot spots such as Los Angeles and the Bay Area and said the shutdown was hurting their local economies.

“They’re making a big mistake. They’re putting their public at risk. They’re putting our progress at risk,” Newsom said during a COVID-19 briefing in Sacramento on Tuesday. “These are real exceptions. The overwhelming majority of Californians are playing by the rules doing the right thing.”

But Newsom did not say if the state would take any action to enforce the stay-at-home order and other statewide restrictions in those counties.

Instead, the Democratic governor encouraged officials there to abide by his more measured plan for reopening, which was announced Monday and will allow some retail stores across the state to reopen as early as Friday if certain safeguards are put in place.

Under the new statewide COVID-19 guidelines, the governor said bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting goods retailers and others can reopen for pickup, and manufacturing and logistics can resume in the retail supply chain. Newsom said more detailed guidelines on the businesses that can resume limited operations would be released later this week.

Shopping malls, gyms, bars, barbershops, salons and similar establishments must remain closed under Newsom’s order, and in-restaurant dining remains prohibited.

Newsom said some of the restrictions would be eased if county health officials, in concurrence with their county board of supervisors, can verify that they have adequate healthcare facilities and personal protective equipment to care for COVID-19 patients, and the capability to test, isolate and track those who have the virus. Newsom said that if a county has a low number of COVID-19 cases, that will be considered when the state issues variances.

In spite of those requirements, however, Dr. Ngoc-Phuong Luu, health officer for Yuba and Sutter counties, issued new orders on Friday that allow restaurants, retailers, shopping malls, gyms, fitness studios, salons, spas and tattoo parlors to operate.

“They put those businesses at risk, not only the health of their communities at risk. I would encourage them just to do the right thing and know that we are committed to working with them as we have been,” Newsom said. “We have a process and protocol to do that. And so we believe in ready-aim-fire — not, ready-fire-aim”

The governor’s comments came during a visit Tuesday to Display California, a small business in Sacramento, to highlight his plan to ease restrictions.

Newsom also faced defiance in Southern California after he ordered the closure of all Orange County beaches last week. The governor took that action after thousands of beachgoers flocked to the the coast during the recent heatwave, ignoring Newsom’s pleas to stay at home and maintain a safe distance from others.

On Tuesday, the state announced that three Orange County beach cities — Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Dana Point — will be permitted to reopen their stretches of coastline this week with certain limitations, including taking steps to avoid overcrowding and allow safe physical distancing.

The move came a day after similar plans for Laguna Beach and San Clemente were approved by the state, and several days after the Huntington Beach City Council voted to take legal action to block Newsom’s beach closure.

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reopening states

Reopening US states are taking their first steps toward a new normal – CNN

(CNN)Carlos Davis used to have about 200 clients drop by his CUT-ology barbershop in Albany, Georgia, every day.

On Friday, the first day he was allowed to reopen since the coronavirus pandemic, around 30 clients came in.
Wearing gloves, a construction face mask and a face shield, Davis said he was taking precautions to protect his staff and clients. A piece of paper on the door outlined the mandatory guidelines for clients, saying they must wear a mask and gloves in order to enter.
He’s afraid of the virus, yes. But he also fears losing his barbershop, and what that could mean for him.
“If I don’t cut, I don’t eat,” he said.
Davis’s decision to reopen comes as a number of states have begun to loosen stay-at-home restrictions — even as the novel coronavirus continues to infect and kill people. Across the country, more than 950,000 people have tested positive for the virus and more than 54,000 have died.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy allowed salons and restaurants to reopen in most parts of the state Friday. Oklahoma allowed some personal-care businesses to reopen for appointments Friday as well. Even in California, some beaches that had been closed reopened for public use, though with limitations.
Georgia’s reopening has been the most aggressive so far. Gov. Brian Kemp allowed the reopening of hair and nail salons, gyms, bowling alleys, tattoo studios and massage therapists on Friday, with theaters and restaurants to follow Monday. The reopenings come despite warnings from health experts, local mayors and even President Donald Trump. The influential Covid-19 model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, for example, says social distancing should not be relaxed in Georgia until June 22.
Businesses that do reopen still must try to maintain social distancing and take steps to keep their staff and customers safe. But that is not always possible in businesses with such close contact.
Shannon Stafford reopened her salon in Savannah, but she conceded that maintaining six feet of distance is not possible between a hair stylist and a client.
“You can kind of distance between the next two people throughout the salon,” Stafford said Friday, “but it’s going to be difficult because we’re so hands on.”

Uneasy first steps

The reopenings do not mean that things are returning to normal. Restaurants and hair and nail salons that do reopen will have to adjust their layouts, sanitation procedures and service methods to adjust to this new reality.
For example, Waffle House reopened in Georgia Monday with more distant seating arrangements, enhanced sanitizing protocols and masks on employees, CEO Walt Ehmer told CNN affiliate WSB. He said part of the decision to reopen was to allow employees to get back to earning money.
“I think it might make the difference between having a job and not having a job, and I know the unemployment system has been enhanced to help take care of the most vulnerable people, but people want to have jobs, and they want to have something to do and take care of their families,” Ehmer said. “I think it’s going to give them some hope.”
In Douglasville, Georgia, Eric Greeson said his family’s barbershop had more business than they thought they would but not as much as they wished. By about 1:40 p.m. on Friday, he said the shop had nine clients, which was not that far off from a normal Friday.
He said he was “kind of shocked” by the governor’s decision to reopen, but he decided to do so in part so he didn’t fall behind his competition.
“You know, we figure if we don’t open, the shop down the street will, and then we lose that business. So you’re kind of stuck in a position where if they say you can open, you open,” he said.
But Samuel Glickman, founder of the Georgia Barbers Network, said he won’t reopen until he can get the necessary supplies to do so safely.
“The comfort level is not there for sure,” he told CNN. “Right now, we’re not safe. The items we need to open up our businesses and keep our clients safe, those items aren’t accessible to us.”

A mayor’s apology

For some small business owners, decisions about reopening come down to mundane logistics.
Glickman said he wants customers and barbers to wash their hands often, but to do so, he needs to buy a huge amount of paper towels. He’s tried ordering paper towels online, but because of shortages, they won’t arrive for several weeks.
“Until I feel like I have at least three months worth of supplies, it doesn’t make sense for me to open up because I want to be consistent with the protocols as well. If I run out of supplies, do I shut down again?” he said.
Customers’ itch to visit nail salons has extended even to places that remain locked down. Mayor Becky Ames of Beaumont, Texas, had to issue an apology after a photo posted to social media showed her soaking her nails in a bowl at a nail salon on Tuesday, according to CNN affiliate KFDM.
Nail salons in Texas remain closed by the state’s stay-at-home order. However, Ames and the nail salon owner told KFDM that the mayor was not having her nails done but was “soaking them in acetone to remove the powdered nails to avoid infection.”
“I had them put on several weeks ago and they hurt. I was trying to get them off and I texted my nail lady. She said the only way to get them off is with a solution. You have to do it a special way,” Ames told KFDM.
The mayor said she had arranged to pick up the solution at the salon door so she could take it home and remove the artificial nails. She said the owner had her come in for a few minutes to show her how to do the process, and that they were alone, both wearing masks and at least six feet apart, according to KFDM.
Ames issued an apology on Thursday for entering the nail salon, calling it a “lapse in judgement.”

Dates of reopenings ahead

In addition to Georgia, several states have started to loosen restrictions.
Alaska allowed some businesses to reopen Friday. Hair salons can only admit customers by reservation, and restaurants must keep distances between tables and can’t exceed 25% of their normal capacity.
In Montana, which has had just 448 confirmed cases, retail businesses can become operational on or after Monday if they adhere to requirements to limit capacity and maintain strict physical distancing. Restaurants, bars, breweries and distilleries can begin providing some in-establishment services on May 4.
Tennessee allowed restaurants and retailers to reopen at 50% capacity Monday in the vast majority of its counties.
Oklahoma will allow restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues and gyms to reopen May 1 if they maintain “strict social distancing and sanitation protocols.” Bars, schools and sporting events, however, will still be closed.
In Texas, the state’s stay-at-home order ends at the end of April. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that a group of medical and economic experts will guide him through a series of incremental steps aimed at slowly reopening the state’s economy in early May.
Still, some states led by Democratic governors have also moved to loosen restrictions. In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz says he will allow some businesses to reopen beginning Monday.
Hawaii lifted certain restrictions while continuing to review others, Gov. David Ige said. Beaches are open for exercising, but people cannot loiter on the beach and must maintain social distance. Elective surgeries are also allowed to take place as long as there is enough capacity, he said.
And in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis said the state’s stay-at-home order will be replaced Monday by a less restrictive “safer at home” phase. Starting Monday, retail businesses with curbside delivery can reopen and elective medical procedures can resume. Businesses such as personal training and dog grooming can reopen with social distancing.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the name of Savannah, Georgia, salon owner Shannon Stafford.

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