Reopening plan is confirmed – but it’s conditional on slowing of virus spread

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other agencies have created a plan to reopen the American economy and get people back to work.

The Washington Post obtained information about the plan, but some details like specific dates, exactly which restrictions would be removed in each state, and when that would take place, were not yet available.

The plan has been in the works for about a week and has been discussed by the White House coroanvirus task force, a source told the Post.

Trump wants a finalized plan within the next few days so he can direct some states to reopen on May 1, the officials said.

Country needs to reopen

“The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized,” Trump said in reference to the strategy during Tuesday’s press briefing.

He even hinted that some economies in the 20 states that have been relatively unaffected by the virus may reopen before May 1, although documents do not mention any openings before that date, the Hour reported.

The plan is centered around getting Americans back to work. Almost 17 million have applied for unemployment in the last three weeks, but many of those are temporary fuloughs that will end when shutdowns do.

Some health officials fear that lifting mitigation would result in a new wave of infections and reverse the impact of flattening the curve that has so far been achieved.

Conditions to re-open

The document gave four critieria for a state to reopen, according to the Post: a low number of infections, a monitoring system to detect new infections, a medical system that can accommodate a surge of new infections, and enough hospital beds to handle that surge.

Trump is eager to get people back to work now that the curve has been declared flattened. Hospitalizations are decreasing in the epicenter of the outbreak, New York state, as well as in most other areas of the country.

Some health experts aren’t sure the country will be ready to begin reopening by May 1, but Trump and his economic experts feel that continued shutdowns could cause as many deaths–maybe more–than the virus itself at this point.

Real Clear Politics reported that if unemployment hits the 32% predicted by one Federal Reserve economist, 77,000 more people will die from drug overdoses and suicides than when the unemployment rate was 3.5% just four weeks ago.

That rate is nearly three times the death toll from coronavirus so far, and exceeds the projected death toll by 17,000.

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