US states start to reopen as coronavirus death toll tops 50,000
Some state governors in the United States began to reopen portions of their economies on Friday even as the death toll from the coronavirus hit the grim milestone of 50,000.
Health officials at Johns Hopkins University reported more than 3,300 new coronavirus deaths in the US in the last 24 hours, one of the deadliest days since the outbreak began. There have now been more than 890,000 cases in the US since the virus was first detected in the country.
Strict social distancing measures and business closures in New York and elsewhere, while potentially curbing the spread of the virus, have exacted a toll on the US economy. At least 26 million people have sought unemployment benefits in the last five weeks, the most since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Governors in at least three states – Oklahoma, Alaska and Georgia – announced that they would begin lifting some of those restrictions on Friday, even as other states such as California, Massachusetts and Illinois see spikes in cases.
Georgia received the most attention for its plans, being the first state to make them public. The state will allow certain businesses, including salons, gyms and bowling alleys to allow customers.