coronavirus in us: US Governors team up to plan for reopening, rebuffing Trump

WASHINGTON: Some of the US most powerful governors said they would form regional alliances to coordinate reopening schools and businesses after the coronavirus outbreak subsides, setting up a potential clash with the president, who says that he alone has that authority.

“We will be driven by facts, we will be driven by evidence, we will be driven by science, we will be driven by our public health advisers, we will be driven by the collaborative spirit that defines the best of us at this important moment,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said as he announced a partnership with Washington state and Oregon.

With health data suggesting that the spread of the coronavirus may be nearing a plateau in the US, public officials are under growing pressure to chart a path back to normality. The longer the state-by-state lockdowns last, the more economic hardship there will be. But dropping stay-at-home restrictions too soon might risk a second wave of infections. That tension was on display Monday as two sets of governors — one on each coast —said they would coordinate how and when they might gradually ease their restrictions on travel and business. Shortly before both initiatives were announced, Trump tweeted that he alone had the authority to decide when states would return to normal.

“The optimum is a geographically coordinated plan,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “This virus doesn’t understand governmental boundaries.”

Coordination is critical, Cuomo said, to avoid unintended consequences — such as having thirsty residents of a state where bars are closed driving to another where they’ve been reopened.

The initiative by New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island is in its early stages. Officials provided few details about what criteria they might use to restart a semblance of normal life. A panel will consist of the governors’ chiefs of staff and health and economic officials from each state. Most residents in those states are nearing the one-month mark of having been told to stay home and keep their distance from others.

Source Article

Lois C. Ferrara

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