“We are doing the same across the state and in other counties as well to ultimately help guide a deeper understanding of when this pandemic really started to impact Californians directly,” Newsom said Wednesday.
In Indiana, officials are tracking cases going back to at least mid-February — weeks before the state announced its first case in early March.
“We’re going to do our absolute very best to identify every death that we think was associated with Covid-19 and make sure that we appropriately count that number,” state health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said. “There will be individuals that never hit the hospital system that may very well have had Covid-19.”
California has more than 1,400 deaths while Indiana has over 650 deaths. Indiana should expect to see a total increase of less than 100 deaths due to the review effort, Box said. Newsom said there would be “subsequent” announcements as the state determines the early origins of the virus.
Governors and mayors are feuding over reopening
The pandemic has hit the US especially hard, leading to stay-home orders in more than 40 states. The decision to reopen even as coronavirus deaths linger is pitting governors against mayors in some of the largest cities.
The state’s key leader did not share her enthusiasm. “We are clearly not ready to open,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak told CNN.
Trump is at odds with a key ally
In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp made the most aggressive move yet to get the state’s economy humming by allowing businesses such as barbershops, nail salons, bowling alleys and gyms to reopen Friday.
President Donald Trump initially applauded the decision by one of his key allies, a source said, then criticized it during his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday.
“I disagree with him on what he’s doing but I want to let the governors do (what they want),” the President said.
The mayor of Georgia’s largest city said the decision to reopen left her puzzled.
“I have searched my head and my heart on this and I am at a loss as to what the governor is basing this decision on,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat.
The state is struggling with an epidemic that has left about 850 people dead. The mayors of Augusta and Savannah have also criticized the move to reopen.
“You have to live to fight another day. And you have to be able to be amongst the living to be able to recover,” Lance Bottoms said
“When you should go back to business is when you have some true indicators over two weeks that show a deceleration of the pandemic,” Benjamin said, referring to one of the White House’s criteria for reopening state economies. “We need more testing. We need more data, and then we can decide how we go back into business.”
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the governor’s reopening plan was “a measured response” that took safety and social distancing into account. “It’s not like he opened the barn door and everything flies out,” Tecklenburg said
Following the lead of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz plans to allow some businesses to reopen Monday. However, he said, he reserves the right to put more restrictions on them than the state.
Not so fast, experts warn states
A coronavirus model routinely cited by the White House warns that no state should be opening before May 1.
South Carolina and Georgia should not open until June 5 and June 19, respectively, according to the model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned Kemp to be careful.
“Going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be, I would advise him, as a health official and a physician, not to do that,” Fauci said.
About half the states in the country should remain closed until May 25 or later, according to the model. The reopening dates are based on an assumption that states will have aggressive testing, contact tracing, isolation and limits on the size of gatherings to prevent another wave of the virus.
“We have estimated we need at least three times as much testing as we have right now,” said Dr. Anish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Initiative. “We have been flat for like three and a half weeks. We have made no progress.”
CNN’s Sarah Moon, Ralph Ellis, Christina Maxouris, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Arman Azad contributed to this report.