The Trump administration pushed forward with its focus on states’ efforts to revive their economies on Wednesday, with Vice President Pence traveling to Florida and Trump hosting the governors of Arkansas and Kansas at the White House. All 50 states have started easing coronavirus-related restrictions — even though many of them do not meet federal benchmarks — leading public health experts to warn that a second wave of infections could be imminent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out a detailed, delayed road map for reopening schools, child-care facilities, restaurants and mass transit, long after governors began opening states on their own terms. The 60-page guidance document was posted on the CDC website over the weekend without fanfare after weeks of delay and an internal debate over whether the guidelines were too restrictive.
Here are some significant developments:
- The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide approached 5 million, with at least 1.5 million in the United States.
- Trump ramped up his rhetoric against China, claiming on Twitter that the nation’s “incompetence” was responsible for “this mass Worldwide killing!” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also denounced China as a “brutal authoritarian regime” and described its relationship with the director of the World Health Organization as “troubling.”
- A worker at a mink farm in the Netherlands may have contracted the novel coronavirus from an animal there, the country’s agricultural minister said. If confirmed, this is would be first recorded incident of animal-to-human transmission.
- Less than a month after relaxing restrictions, several Gulf Arab countries are reimposing strict restrictions after seeing sharp spikes in coronavirus cases — quadrupling in Saudi Arabia and increasing by nearly sevenfold in Kuwait.
- A church in Houston and another in Georgia are closing for a second time after faith leaders and congregants tested positive for the virus shortly after the two churches reopened.
- The president privately expressed opposition to extending unemployment benefits for workers affected by the pandemic.