US Coronavirus Cases Top 1.5 Million as States Ease Restrictions.
Ready or not, the United States is reopening. All 50 states have started easing coronavirus-related restrictions — even though many of them do not meet federal benchmarks — leading public health experts to warn that a new surge of infections could be imminent.
As the U.S. death toll surpassed 90,000, White House officials continued to defend the push to reopen and optimistically predicted a swift economic recovery. As part of the focus on states’ efforts to revive their economies, Vice President Pence on Wednesday traveled to Florida while Trump was set to host the governors of Arkansas and Kansas at the White House.
Here are some significant developments:
Trump ramped up his rhetoric against China, claiming on Twitter that the nation’s “incompetence” was responsible for “this mass Worldwide killing!”
A church in Houston and another in Georgia are closing for a second time after faith leaders and congregants tested positive for the virus shortly after the two churches reopened.
The president drew criticism for saying Tuesday it’s “a badge of honor” that America leads the world with more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus because “it means our testing is much better.” The United States has more than 30 percent of the world’s known coronavirus infections but accounts for less than 5 percent of the global population.
The Justice Department warned California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) that his state’s reopening plan appears to discriminate against religious institutions, which have been ordered to continue holding services online.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out a detailed, delayed road map for reopening schools, child-care facilities, restaurants and mass transit, weeks after governors began opening states on their own terms.
The president privately expressed opposition to extending unemployment benefits for workers affected by the pandemic.