More U.S. states are set to allow businesses to reopen, defying warnings of risks due to insufficient testings for COVID-19 infections.
The states of Colorado, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, and Tennessee are set to join Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, which earlier “restarted” their economies and opened up businesses.
Warning from health experts
Health experts earlier said that these states do not have systematic testing and that there are risks particularly from people who may be asymptomatic of COVID-19.
Following medical experts’ advice, 42 out of the 50 states earlier initiated lockdowns as part of their efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
These lockdowns aim to minimize human contact in the hopes of slowing down infections and help the healthcare system cope.
As of this writing, the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. climbed to more than 993,000, and the death toll reaching 56,000.
Experts also warned against the resumption of economic activities, which could spark another outbreak.
The said states will reportedly ease stay-at-home restrictions and social distancing.
Reopenings due to rising unemployment rate
In Georgia, non-essential businesses such as salons, barbershops, and gyms have reopened following the governor’s lifting of the state’s lockdown measures.
In Alaska, some restaurants and salons have already opened, while in Georgia, small businesses have to adhere to social distancing in order to start operating.
The main reason for the reopening states has been the staggering unemployment rate in the U.S. due to state-wide lockdowns.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier projected that the unemployment rate in the U.S. could reach 20%. The latest reports cited that jobless claims have now soared to a staggering 6.65 million as of the end of March 2020.
New York and New Jersey still in lockdown
New York and New Jersey — the two hardest-hit states — will continue to implement lockdowns, although the states’ local government has started plotting recovery plans.
In New York, the local government is said to be drafting a plan to allow people to work.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the local government created a “Fair Recovery Task Force” in charge of drafting the plan for economic recovery for the state.
New York will reportedly consider reopening business by May 15. There are currently over 293,000 COVID-19 cases in the state.
New Jersey, meanwhile, is still weeks away from reopening, according to Governor Phil Murphy. The state currently has more than 111,000 cases.
Another state that is not ready to reopen is Florida, which currently has over 32,000 COVID-19 cases.