States To Reopen Nonessential Businesses

The latest in COVID-19

Quick Take

  • Trump suggests for governors to reopen their public schools before the end of the academic year.

  • Under growing pressure, President Trump unveiled a plan to ramp up federal assistance for testing.

  • Texas reopens businesses starting Friday, May 1st.

  • A top ER doctor at a Manhattan hospital committed suicide after being on the front lines of battling the pandemic.

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The United States now has more than 1 million coronavirus infections and 57k fatalities.

Trump Suggests States To Reopen Schools

President Trump has suggested for some governors to reopen their public schools before the end of the academic year. During a conference call with the governors, Trump expressed his desire to open schools and the economy, telling governors that people want to see the states open.

At least one state was already moving forward with the possibility of reopening schools. Montana, which has among the fewest cases and deaths, will give schools the option to reopen on May 7th. Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey also says there is a chance schools in New Jersey might reopen in some fashion before the end of June.

Texas Reopens Businesses May 1st

That’s Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announcing that will not extend the state’s stay-at-home order that is set to expire on April 30th. He also announced a reopening of the state’s businesses in phases starting Friday.  In the first phase, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls will be able to reopen with occupancy limited to no more than 25 percent. Phase two will increase occupancy to 50 percent.

Capacity can later be expanded as long as COVID-19 remains contained. The lockdown expiration will give Texas one of the shortest stay-at-home orders in the nation, having only lasted 28 days. Gov. Abbott had previously lifted some restrictions, including on retail shopping and state parks. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled a reopening plan that would allow manufacturing work to resume and offices to reopen next week.

Federal Government To Finally Expand Testing

Under growing pressure to expand testing, President Trump unveiled a plan to ramp up federal assistance to help states. An administration official said the federal government aimed to give states the ability to test at least 2 percent of their populations per month. However, President Trump didn’t mention any specific figures in today’s briefing.

Washington Senator Patty Murray criticized the plans, saying it doesn’t set specific, numeric goals, offer a time frame, identify ways to fix broken supply chains, or offer any details on expanding lab capacity or activating needed manufacturing capacity.

The administration has long been reluctant to nationalize the production and distribution of coronavirus test kits. Trump made it clear that the states are still primarily responsible for testing and the federal government should be the supplier of last resort. The United States is long behind expansive testing, having only conducted about 5.4 million tests since the pandemic began.

Trump’s Relationship With Kim Jong Un

When asked if he knew anything about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health, President Trump said he has a good idea but can’t talk about it. Kim has not been seen in public since Apr. 11th and failed to appear in an Apr. 15th commemoration of his late grandfather, sparking rumors that Kim was potentially sick or even dead. Trump denied the news reports about Kim’s health, labeling it as fake news.

Top Manhattan ER Doctor Commits Suicide

The head of the emergency department at a Manhattan hospital has committed suicide after spending days on the front lines of the coronavirus battle and having the virus herself. Dr. Philip Breen, her father, said she had gotten sick with the virus while on the job at one point, but then returned to work after about a week and a half of recuperating.

She had no history of mental illness. Her father said she had told him how excruciating it was to have to continually watch contagion patients die, including some even before they could be taken from the ambulance. 

The battle-weary ER doctor, 49, was only the latest New York City healthcare worker to take her own life. Last week, a Bronx EMT witnessing the virus’s ruthless toll fatally shot himself with a gun. He was only 23 years young and worked out of EMS Station 18 in The Bronx, which handles one of the biggest emergency call volumes in the city.

Stanford University Professor Debra Kaysen says the groups that are most at risk of PTSD are front-line health care workers and those who lost loved ones. If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s phone number is 1-800-273-8255.

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