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The Trump administration might start reopening the country on May 1

Published Apr 9th, 2020 10:42PM EDT
Coronavirus USA
Image: Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

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  • With glimmers of hope starting to emerge in the coronavirus case and death data we’re seeing on a nationwide scale across the US, the Trump administration is starting to consider May 1 as the point at which they’d push for the country to start reopening.
  • That’s according to a new report Thursday, which provides a window into the timeframe with which the administration will answer the question on everyone’s mind right now as the coronavirus pandemic lingers: When will all this end?
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It’s the question everyone who’s been lucky enough to remain healthy during the coronavirus pandemic wants to know: When will all this end? More to the point, how much longer do we have to stay hunkered down at home, with businesses temporarily shuttered until the most acute danger from the virus has passed? Well, as of Thursday, it seems an answer to the question is starting to materialize — in the form of a specific timeframe.

Buoyed by new more-optimistic-than-expected projections that the death toll in the US from the virus may come well short of the 100,000 to 240,000 deaths the administration’s latest modeling showed (somewhere closer to 60,000 is the number being talked about now) reports have started to circulate that some Trump administration officials see this as ammunition to support the president’s goal of reopening the country quickly. Per Axios, May 1 is starting to be looked at as the date for that process to begin.

One source identified as a “senior White House official” told the outlet there’s momentum starting to coalesce around that date, which will also mark the end of the “30 Days to Slow the Spread” set of guidelines put forward by the administration. No surprise, the source acknowledged that it’s economic-focused members of the administration pushing for this, and the source also cautioned that there are a number of different scenarios being considered right now — with no one plan for how to reopen the country having emerged yet as a clear favorite.

And in addition to the White House not having made a firm decision yet on the date when all this will get underway, the source stressed that officials will follow “data, not dates.”

Meanwhile, health officials within the government aren’t as, shall we say, bullish about getting all this started on May 1. One senior Health and Human Services official told Axios, “Talk of reopening the American economy — when we don’t fully understand the virus, and can’t even crank our own domestic assembly lines to make diagnostic tests, respirators, and ventilators — isn’t just myopic, it’s flat out ridiculous.”

Even so, we are starting to get a sense of what this reopening might look like. The CDC this week published recommendations of best practices that employees who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus should adhere to upon a return to work — things like rigorous cleaning of workspaces and temperature screening.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.