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FOR THE WEEK OF APR 20, 2020

When to ‘reopen’ America involves tough questions with answers that vary from place to place

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Summarize a fresh coronavirus update.
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Find a comment by a government official or health professional in your state or area.
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Now share words from someone talking about how their life has changed.

If you're restless to resume some kind of semi-normal life, you have lots of company. U.S. political leaders, business executives, merchants and other Americans are talking about when and how we might start to emerge carefully from stay-home precautions to avoid coronavirus. Most health experts, including advisers to President Trump, urge continued restrictions on public activity until widespread testing is available to determine who's infected with the lung virus and who's not. So far, the pandemic (pronounced pann-DEMM-ick) has killed more than 38,600 Americans and afflicted more than 762,000. Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, is the leading U.S. cause of death now, though the toll no longer rises as steeply as it did in early April.

"We're going to get our country open and get it working. People want to get working," Trump told governors in a conference call last Thursday. He suggested they could begin reopening businesses, restaurants and other parts of daily life by May 1 or earlier. "You're going to call your own shots," the president told state leaders. New York's governor says his state's sweeping shutdown runs at least until May 15, while Wisconsin residents are ordered to stay home until May 26 unless their jobs are considered "essential." Texas reopened state parks this week and lets stores reopen Friday for pickup, delivery and mail orders. "We have demonstrated that we can corral the coronavirus," says its Republican governor. In Los Angeles, by contrast, the mayor says large gatherings like sporting events or concerts may not resume there until 2021.

White House guidelines urge states not to lift travel and work restrictions until they reach a 14-day period in which coronavirus cases decline steadily declining, hospitals are not overwhelmed and extensive testing is in place for health care workers and others. In any case, schools will stay shut until fall – maybe longer in some areas – and socializing in groups of more than 10 will be discouraged. Social distancing will last a long while, in other words.

President says: "We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time." – April 16 statement at White House

Governor says: "We'll gradually start easing things off and opening things up when we believe it's safe to do so. … We're not going to do it in a way that endangers the lives of thousands of our citizens." – Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., head of the National Governors Association

Doctor says: "We need to reopen the faucet gradually, not allow the floodgates to reopen." – Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the federal Centers for Disease Control

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2020
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Front Page Talking Points Archive

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Complete archive

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