Governors prepare to ‘reopen’ states

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REGION — In recent days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Tom Wolf have both finally begun reporting some “good news” about the spread of the coronavirus in their respective states.

On Monday, Cuomo said in a press conference that the curve is flattening there and that “it appears we have a plateau.” On the same day, PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine used the same word—plateau—to describe the number of new cases PA officials are seeing. In other words, the most recent one-day rise of new cases came at six percent, whereas last week the one-day rise was 13 percent and the week before 20 percent.

Similarly in NYS, there were more than 6,000 new cases on April 12, which represents a downward trend in new cases over the past several days: for example, on April 9 there were 10,595 new cases, on April 10, there were 9,946 and April 11, there were 8,236.

With this cautious optimism, Cuomo and Wolf have joined the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts in creating a multi-state council to “get people back to work and restore the economy.”

“Now it is time to start opening the valve slowly and carefully while watching the infection rate meter so we don’t trigger a second wave of new infections,” Cuomo said. “This is not a light switch that we can just flick on and everything goes back to normal. We have to come up with a smart, consistent strategy to restart the systems we shut down and get people back to work.”

In the multi-state council, each state will contribute a health expert, economic development expert and a chief of staff.

In an evening address, Wolf predicted three phases for PA’s future: “buying time” and making sure the medical community does not become overwhelmed; a transitional phase as society begins to reopen that includes better testing of the virus; and finally “a new normal” in which residents “rebuild” their lives while the state builds better stockpiles of medical supplies which ran low during the pandemic, develops vaccines, better treatments and “maybe even a cure.”

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