At least 31 states will partially reopen over the next few days as a patchwork of coronaviris response plans that vary from one state to the next goes into effect.
Among the different approaches:
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering beaches and parks closed and said reopening of schools and businesses is still "weeks away."
- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, meanwhile, extended the stay-at-home order until May 15.
- Florida has two different approaches within its borders: Restaurants and retail shops can let customers inside, at reduced capacity, starting Monday -- but not in South Florida's populous Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, home to 6 million people.
- West Virginia's dentists can go back to work Thursday; its restaurants, churches and services like salons must wait until Monday.
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who allowed some businesses to open Friday, will ease social distancing restrictions Thursday, his spokeswoman told CNN.
As the national picture continues to emerge, federal stay-at-home restrictions are set to expire at midnight. And unemployment figures released Thursday morning show another sharp rise in job losses, with 3.8 million first-time claims last week.
At least 1,042,874 Americans have tested positive for Covid-19; at least 61,123 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Report: FDA to make drug announcement
The US Food and Drug Administration plans to announce an emergency-use authorization for the investigational coronavirus treatment, remdesivir, the New York Times reported, citing a senior administration official.
The FDA said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday it is in discussions with Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, about making the drug available to patients. Gilead's current supply of the drug could cover at least 140,000 treatment courses for coronavirus patients, CEO Daniel O'Day said Wednesday.
"The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery," he said in the Oval Office during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
But the researcher behind that trial told CNN that remdesivir is "not the end of the story" when it comes to treating the virus.
"We have work to do. We are looking for other therapies, this trial is going to continue," said Dr. Andre Kalil, the principal investigator for the clinical trial, which was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. "In medicine, it's never ending. We can always do better. And we want to do better."
Free testing in Los Angeles
Los Angeles began offering free coronavirus tests Wednesday night to all residents, Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a news conference, making it the first major US city to do so.
There is no limit to the number of times someone can request a test. People with symptoms are a top priority, but people without symptoms can also be tested.
Garcetti initially said testing would be open to city residents only, but according to a news release and the city's website, all Los Angeles County residents can sign up for a free test.
"We have the capacity so don't wait, don't wonder and don't risk infecting others," Garcetti said. "If you feel you need a test, get one. If you want to be safe, get one."
The county has 34 testing sites, with a capacity to test 18,000 people per day. More than 140,000 people have been tested throughout those testing sites, according to Garcetti.
Health experts have said states should ramp up testing for coronavirus in order to safely reopen.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee referenced testing Wednesday when announcing that the state's stay-at-home order would remain in effect past May 4. Inslee said the state cannot reach its full potential of 22,000 tests per day.
"Unfortunately, because we don't have additional swabs in the viral transfer media ... we can only do about 4,600," he said.
The state's outbreak is disproportionately affecting the Hispanic community, which makes up 13% of the population, but represents 30% of coronavirus cases, Inslee said.
A second round is 'inevitable'
How the nation responds to this wave of coronavirus will determine how bad the "inevitable" second one will be, Fauci said.
If states begin lifting restrictions too early, Fauci said, he predicts the country could see a rebound of the virus that would "get us right back in the same boat that we were a few weeks ago," adding that the country could see many more deaths than are currently predicted.
CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Celine Gounder said Tuesday that before it is safe to list social distancing restrictions states should see a 14-day decline in cases and deaths, a hospital capacity for expected patients and the ability to do testing and contact tracing.
A University of Iowa study recommended maintaining mitigation efforts another two weeks to prevent another wave of infections.
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