The number of reported deaths in the U.S. from the new coronavirus spiked to nearly double the prior record Thursday, as governors extended their lock-down orders, and the Trump administration released new federal guidelines to reopen the economy. In the 24 hours ending at 8 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, 4,591 people were reported to have died from Covid-19, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The prior record was 2,569 on Wednesday. The number of new reported U.S. cases, meanwhile, was roughly equal with that on Wednesday at 31,451.
In total, there have been more than 671,000 coronavirus cases and 33,000 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins. Globally, confirmed cases of the virus have reached more than 2.15 million, with the number of deaths world-wide topping 144,000. Under the new guidelines, President Trump said governors would determine a timeline for reopening their states. “Every state is very different,” he said. “If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that.” While he pushed to open the economy, Mr. Trump acknowledged the continued risk and said Americans should continue to practice “vigorous” hygiene practices, including social-distancing and, when possible, teleworking.
Mr. Trump expressed optimism that as many as 29 states would be ready to open their economies “relatively soon,” though he declined to provide specifics. The new guidelines come as lawmakers and business leaders press the administration to expand virus testing, and days after Mr. Trump said that he—not governors—was the final arbiter on when to reopen the country. “You’re going to call your own shots,” Mr. Trump told the governors on a call Thursday, according to a person who was briefed on the matter. “We’ll be standing right alongside of you and we’re going to get our country open.” California Gov. Gavin Newsom described the new guidelines’ approach, which he said was based on county and state-specific conditions, as “thoughtful and judicious.”
“It certainly was in line with what we were hoping to hear,” said Mr. Newsom, who added that he was only on the call with Mr. Trump for the first 40 minutes. The White House guidelines say states should move to the first phase of reopening after exhibiting a downward trend of documented cases or positive tests over a two-week period. In the first phase, movie theaters, restaurants, sports venues, places of worship, gyms and other venues could open with strict social distancing guidelines in place. The plan recommends that vulnerable people stay at home during the first phase, and prohibits visits to nursing homes and hospitals. Some people could return to work in phases, although telework would still be encouraged. –The WSJ