As several U.S. states approach the end-date to their Stay-at-Home mandates, some officials are considering either extending the deadlines or adopting new orders to slow the reopening process. While the slower approach has been recommended by healthcare professionals a new model suggests that self-isolation should remain in effect for much longer to avoid a resurgence of coronavirus.
As reported by CNN, a COVID-19 model from HealthData.org suggests that several states would have to wait several more weeks before beginning the return to normal. Florida, Kansas, and Arizona, for example, would have to wait until mid-to-late June. Meanwhile, New York, despite having the most cases in the U.S., could theoretically reopen on May 27. Similarly, Washington would be able to do so on May 28. The model is also routinely cited by The White House, though its latest adjustments puts it at odds with certain states' plans.
Georgia, for example, has already planned on opening up a number of its businesses starting on Friday, despite the model putting June 19 as the ideal date. "Due to favorable data and more testing, gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools and massage therapists can reopen Friday, April 24 with Minimum Basic Operations," Gov. Brian Kemp wrote in a statement.
The decision came as a surprise to many of Kemp's political colleagues. Stacey Abrams, who lost the governor's race in 2018 to Kemp, called his decision "dangerously incompetent" on Twitter, while Atlanta mayor Keisha Bottoms told CNN on Monday that she doesn't understand the governor's thinking. "I have a great working relationship with our governor but I did not speak with him before he made this announcement. So we really are at a loss and I am concerned as a mother and as the mayor of our capital city."
President Donald Trump also criticized Kemp's decision on Wednesday, despite the fact he'd supported them earlier, and even tweeted out how states were "safely coming back" despite rising death tolls from COVID-19. Additionally, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray stressed the importance of not opening up businesses too soon during a virtual press conference on Friday. "If I were a governor of a state, I would certainly not make a decision based just on our model."
As of Thursday, there are currently just under 667,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. So far, nearly 50,000 U.S. citizens have died from the virus, while just under 80,000 have recovered.