New York state, long an epicenter of the US outbreak, reported 49 coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday, the lowest death toll since the pandemic began, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
States keep opening as some numbers move in ‘right direction’
As US states push forward with reopening plans, nearly as many are seeing coronavirus caseloads trending upward as those where case numbers are declining, an analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows.
Nineteen states have averaged more new cases over the past week than the prior week, while 13 are holding steady and 18 are seeing a downward trend.
Louisiana is one of those downward-trending states and is set to begin Phase 2 of its plan to reopen the economy Friday, allowing businesses to open at 50% capacity, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“Louisiana is slowly moving in the right direction, but we must continue to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19,” Edwards tweeted Wednesday.
Connecticut, which is seeing its lowest positive test rate in months, will allow in-person graduations with a limit of 150 people beginning July 6, Gov. Ned Lamont said.
Texas and Florida are still recording increasing weekly averages of new cases as they take steps toward reopening.
Almost all Texas businesses are allowed to operate at half capacity, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday evening. And much of Florida will enter Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, allowing businesses such as bars, movie theaters and bowling alleys to operate at half capacity indoors, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday.
Dr. Fauci weighs in on schools
Among the reopenings, questions remain about when and how students can be back in a classroom.
“I hesitate to make any broad statements about whether it is or is not quote ‘safe’ for kids to come back to school,” Fauci said. “When you talk about children going back to school and their safety, it really depends on the level of viral activity and the particular area that you’re talking about. What happens all too often — understandably, but sometimes misleadingly — is that we talk about the country as a whole in a unidimensional away.”
It is premature to begin talking about reopening schools, Fauci said, adding there could be many scenarios in the fall, including changing classroom layouts or having students alternate schedules.
Health experts are still working to understand exactly how the virus affects children.
A National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study will follow 6,000 people, both children and their families chosen from 11 cities over six months, to get further clarification on whether children are less likely to catch coronavirus than adults.
Study of potential treatment may continue
As the US continues to reopen, many are looking to treatments and vaccines that do not yet exist to keep an interacting public safe.
WHO’s Data Safety and Monitoring Committee recommended that the organization continue studying the drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a Wednesday news briefing in Geneva.
Last week, WHO announced that it had temporarily paused the hydroxychloroquine arms of its trial due to concerns surrounding the drug’s safety.
The move was taken as a precaution while safety data was reviewed, but the mortality data did not show reasons to change the trial protocol, Tedros said Wednesday.
A University of Minnesota study showed that the drug does not help patients in the hospital, and its author said he told the President’s physician that no published research shows it is effective as a preventative measure either.
CNN’s Annie Grayer, Janine Mack, Mirna Alsharif, Mitchell McCluskey, Maggie Fox, Joe Sutton and Sheena Jones contributed to this report.