Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

The U.S. Is Now Resorting to Plan C

| Apr. 29, 2020

Americans are not going to wait for sufficient testing. So what happens then?

Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, has faced harsh criticism for lifting emergency restrictions on retail stores—and inexplicably including tattoo parlors among the establishments that can reopen. But Kemp isn't the only governor who’s been second-guessed. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan has permitted the playing of golf, albeit without carts and with strict social distancing between golfers, while she has extended her state's stay-at-home order through May 15. Her fellow Democrat, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, has committed to reopening northern parts of the state well before he does New York City.

These efforts are a microcosm of the dilemma now facing governors and mayors across the United States. The tug-of-war between President Donald Trump, who is plainly eager to lift restrictions, and his scientific advisers, who want Americans not to die, has yielded a list of modest-sounding criteria that states are supposed to satisfy before lifting stay-at-home orders. Titled Opening Up America Again, the document calls on states to wait for the trend in new-case counts, or, alternatively, in the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive, to decline over a 14-day interval—not fall to zero, just decline—before easing up on their stay-at-home orders. States are also urged to show their capability to protect health-care workers and test even asymptomatic patients.

But many of these standards are unlikely to be met anytime soon, and red and blue states alike are starting to probe which restrictions can give....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Kayyem, Juliette.“The U.S. Is Now Resorting to Plan C.” The Atlantic, April 29, 2020.

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