In total, 28 states have experienced a downward trend, including several that have taken steps to reopen relatively early, such as Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Colorado.
One notable exception is Texas, where the number of cases has increased between 20% and 30% since the state began lifting home stay restrictions on May 1. Thursday was particularly grim as the Lone Star State recorded 58 new deaths – the highest in the state – an increase in the number of deaths from coronaviruses since the start of the pandemic.
In total, seven states continue to experience an upward trend in the number of cases, while the numbers appear to continue in 15 others.
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In the meantime, state officials continue to lift restrictions on stay at home.
Parts of New York State, long the epicenter of the US epidemic, are eligible to begin a gradual reopening on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.
Five regions – Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier – met the seven criteria to start the first phase of the state’s reopening plan. Certain industries such as construction and manufacturing may resume. Retail sales will remain limited to curbside or store collection.
However, the governor urged caution, warning residents, “The gradual reopening does not mean that the problem is gone. “
Cuomo extended a home stay order for other areas on Thursday, May 28, unless they meet the seven requirements, such as 14-day decline in hospitalizations and deaths, availability of hospital beds, testing ability and contact tracing.
Parts of Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and Oregon are also expected to lift restrictions on Friday. By Sunday, 48 states will have partially reopened.
A word of warning: it will take weeks to learn all of the health effects of reopening states.
Testing remains a concern
With the reopening and easing of social distancing restrictions, testing remains a major concern, with health experts warning that the United States is still lagging behind.
Although not all people who test positive need treatment, the tests ensure that most cases are identified and traced, said Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Every case that exists could be the spark that unleashes a new epidemic in your community that gets out of control,” he said.
With the right measures, countries can suppress transmission and avoid going back and forth between locking and lifting restrictions, said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical manager of Covid-19 response at the World Health Organization .
South Korea and Singapore have successfully contained the virus because they quickly identified it, began to search for contacts, and fought the opportunities for its resurgence, she added.
Experts say the coronavirus is likely to continue spreading for at least 18 months to two years – until about 70% of the population is infected.
With almost all states easing social distance, the nation has now moved on to harm reduction – which focuses on ways to reduce the risk if it cannot be eliminated entirely, said emergency room physician Dr. Leana Wen and former Baltimore Health Commissioner.
“We had a strategy before. This strategy consisted in reducing the number of infections and at the same time strengthening our capacities to carry out tests, research, isolation, “she said Thursday evening at CNN’s global city hall on the coronavirus .
“We know this is going to be effective, but we are reopening before these capabilities are in place. So, in essence, we say it’s too difficult. We cannot do it. And so we ‘transition to a new phase. “
The new strategy includes ways to slow the spread of the virus such as social distancing, avoiding unnecessary gatherings, changing ventilation systems and increasing the time spent outside, she said.
Trial begins on drugs declared dangerous
With the increasing number of deaths in the United States, finding a vaccine and treatment for the virus remains a top priority.
The National Institutes of Health has launched a new trial for people with mild cases of coronavirus that uses drugs the agency has declared unsafe.
The NIH and the Food and Drug Administration have cautioned against using the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, saying they should only be limited to clinical trials.
The FDA says the combination should not be used outside of a hospital setting as it causes heart rhythm problems. In addition, several trials have shown that the combination does not help patients with coronavirus.
But the NIH said it would enroll 2,000 people infected with a coronavirus to try the combination of drugs at home. Study participants must have a fever, cough and / or shortness of breath, the report said, adding that the first person signed up for San Diego.
“Participants will be randomly assigned to receive short-term treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin or corresponding placebos,” he said. “People living with HIV and pregnant and lactating women are also eligible to participate in the study. “
The NIH did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
CDC sets up “decision trees” on reopening
Places planning to reopen after weeks of restrictions get additional advice from federal officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published “decision trees” to help workplaces, communities, schools, daycares, camps and public transit decide when it is safe to reopen.
The six documents posted to its website on Thursday provide step-by-step advice advising employers to encourage social distancing, hand washing and intensive cleaning.
They do not provide detailed advice on when it would be safe for schools or businesses to open – only questions to ask before making decisions.
Its purpose is to help employers make reopening decisions, but it is still important for them to check with state and local health authorities to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community, says the work tree.
They include small adjustments to account for differences between schools, for example, and restaurants.
MLB plans to play this summer
Since staying at home to fight the spread of the virus, Major League Baseball has been losing money. Now he is working on plans for a modified season in which matches will be played in empty stadiums, said Commissioner Rob Manfred.
“We hope we will have Major League Baseball this summer,” said Manfred at CNN’s world mayor. “We are making plans to play in empty stadiums. But as I said before, all of these plans depend on the public health situation. “
Manfred said he had spoken to the governors of 18 states where the game is played and most expressed the hope that they would be able to use the empty parks this summer.
The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could put MLB franchises in a $ 4 billion hole, he said.
Some states are taking steps to allow typical summer activities in the coming weeks. The governors of New Jersey and Delaware have declared that the beaches will be open over Memorial Day weekend, with capacity restrictions and social distancing.
And Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced Thursday that her goal is to allow summer camps and youth to operate in person from June 29. .
CNN’s Holly Yan, Steve Almasy and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.