Government Leaders Wrestle Over When America Can Reopen After COVID-19

As government leaders wrestle with how and when to reopen the country, the decision will likely come down to individual states.  And increasingly we're hearing from state and local leaders about their ideas.

The president floated a May first timeline, but some health officials say not so fast.

"I think if we are assuming that two weeks from now that all the curves are going to be down, I think that's a bit overly optimistic," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

His counterpart at the CDC, however, was willing to go a bit further during an interview Wednesday morning.

"There are a number of states, 19, 20 states that really have had a limited impact from it," said CDC Director Robert Redfield.  "So I think we will see some states that  the governors feel they're ready and we're poised to assist them with that re-open."

Individual governors will play a pivotal role in this process.  California's Gavin Newsom painted a picture of his view of a new normal.  

"You may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves, maybe a face mask, dinner where the menu is disposable, where your temperature is checked before you walk into the establishment," Newsom said.

Others aren't quite there yet, especially in areas Like Louisiana which just experienced its deadliest day so far from COVID-19.

Also, nearly 430 workers at a pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota are now sick with more than 100 people now testing positive.  The governor there has resisted a statewide stay at home order.

"Regardless of a shelter-in-place order this plant would have been up and running because the plant is deemed an essential business," said South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. 

The Sioux Falls' mayor, however, is sounding the alarm.

"We're growing increasingly concerned about the need to mitigate that spike before it overwhelms our hospitals," said Mayor Paul Tenhaken.

Wednesday, the mayor of Washington DC extended the district's stay at home order until May 15, in the face of its growing problem.

And from the epicenter, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio is calling for increased use of facemasks while sounding cautiously optimistic.

"When it comes to the daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected coronavirus conditions, that number has gone down. I'm happy to say," DeBlasio said.

But the state has seen a surge in nursing home death which is a major concern.

"It's over when we have a vaccine," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.  "It's over when people know they're 100 percent safe and they don't have to worry about this."

Until then, some European countries are following the lead of the US with the hope of easing restrictions. The World Health Organization, warning, though, it cannot happen all at once and that the proper controls need to be in place.

April 16, 2020