REOPEN FOR BUSINESS
Georgia's governor is saying 'back to work.'
In what way?
Starting today, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is allowing some businesses – like gyms and nail and hair salons – to reopen, as long as they can enforce some safety rules. Think: keeping customers apart, checking employees' temperature, and making sure masks are worn. Movie theaters and restaurants will be able to put up 'come in, we're open' signs on Monday. The move seems to put Georgia into phase one of the federal government's proposed reopening plan – which is recommended only after states have started to see a decline in cases for two weeks.
So, Georgia has a handle on its outbreak?
Not exactly. The governor says the move is "driven by data" and supported by state health officials. What data he's referring to is unclear, but infections in the state continue to rise – with more than 21,800 confirmed cases and over 880 deaths. And the state hasn't yet reached its peak. Although President Trump supported the move at first, he now says it's "too soon." But Kemp is saying 'thanks for the tip' and moving forward anyway. He wants to see his state's economy back up and running and is convinced that businesses will adhere to the necessary rules to keep people safe.
What about the rest of the US?
This week, South Carolina gave the go-ahead for some businesses to reopen. And others – including Texas, Tennessee, and Ohio – could reopen within the next two weeks. But no other state has reopened to the extent of Georgia. The moves come amid concerns over the economic consequences of stay-at-home orders. More than 26 million people in the US are now unemployed – numbers not seen since the Great Depression. We break down who qualifies for unemployment and how to file here.
States are grappling with how to do right by their citizens when it comes to their physical and financial health. And Georgia is the first state to step boldly in the 'economy comes first' category. But some worry it's a gamble that could come at the expense of American lives.
What has people's attention…
This antibody study. It suggests that almost 14% of New Yorkers who were randomly tested carry antibodies for COVID-19 in their system. And the rate jumps to more than 21% within NYC. The study indicates that at least 2.7 million people in the state may have had the virus, compared to the more than 260,000 confirmed cases there. And that the mortality rate of the virus could actually be much lower than previously thought (think: 0.5% compared to nearly 6%). While the results are preliminary, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) says the data could help inform how the state reopens.
Not so fast: Health experts have cautioned against putting too much weight on antibody testing – with concerns over its accuracy and whether it can determine immunity.
Skimm More: We explain why widespread and accurate testing is needed to reopen the country here.
Texas. Last month, the governor there put a pause on all nonessential procedures to help save PPE and hospital resources during the coronavirus outbreak. That included abortions. Cue a legal battle, with abortion providers pointing out that the procedure can't exactly be pushed off. Now the state gov is relaxing some of its rules and letting abortions and other elective procedures resume this week – as long as facilities keep at least 25% of their capacity for treating COVID-19 patients.
The NFL draft. The first round of the draft came out in full (virtual) swing last night, brought to you by Commissioner Roger Goodell's basement. As expected, the Cincinnati Bengals got the first pick and went with Heisman Trophy winner and former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. It turned out to be a good night to be a QB – three were selected within the first six picks. Also, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved up a spot to seal the deal with offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs – who can protect the team's new quarterback. A little known player called Tom Brady.
Put me in, coach: The draft got some extra love this year since it came amid the suspension or delay of the NBA, the MLB, the NHL, Wimbledon, the NCAA championships, the Masters, the Olympics, and the list goes on. Most have a new date on the cal. However, the NFL still plans to kick off its season in September. Other countries – like South Korea – have already started playing ball again. Minus the fans.
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