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Northeastern Governors Team Up To Slowly Reopen As Cuomo Declares ‘Worst Is Over’ In New York

New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island governors will draw up a unified plan with the acknowledgment that the virus doesn’t heed state boundaries. On the West Coast, California, Washington state and Oregon announced a similar partnership. “If you do it wrong, it can backfire, and we’ve seen that with other places in the globe,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “What the art form is going to be here is doing that smartly and doing that in a coordinated way.” The death toll in New York climbed past 10,000, but there are some positive signs the outbreak may be plateauing. Meanwhile, states that didn’t issue lock-downs are starting to see the repercussions.


The New York Times:
‘Worst Is Over,’ Cuomo Says As States Snub Trump On Restarting Economy


With the number of new deaths and rate of hospitalizations falling in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday that “the worst is over” in the coronavirus pandemic, and he announced an alliance with six other Northeastern governors to explore how to eventually lift restrictions — a move that appeared to be an implicit rebuke to President Trump. The governors from New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island said they would begin to draw up a plan for when to reopen businesses and schools, and how quickly to allow people to return to work safely, although the timeline for such a plan remained unclear. (Ferre-Sadurni and McKinley, 4/13)


Reuters:
New York, California And Other States Plan For Reopening As Coronavirus Crisis Eases


“Nobody has been here before, nobody has all the answers,” said Cuomo, whose state has become the U.S. epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, during an open conference call with five other governors. “Addressing public health and the economy: Which one is first? They’re both first.” The three Pacific Coast states announced they, too, planned to follow a shared approach for lifting social-distancing measures, but said they “need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening” can take place. (Caspani and Resnick-Ault, 4/13)


The Associated Press:
Governors Form Compacts To Coordinate Reopening Society


They did not announce specific plans on how to scale back stay-at-home orders or reopen businesses. Instead, both groups said they would coordinate those decisions while first considering the health of residents. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said it could take time. “The house is still on fire,” he said during a conference call with reporters. “We still have to put the fire out, but we do have to begin putting in the pieces of the puzzle that we know we’re going to need … to make sure this doesn’t reignite.” (Mulvihill, 4/13)


Boston Globe:
Massachusetts, Girding For Coronavirus Surge, Joins Coalition Of Eastern States To Plan Next Chapter 


Governor Charlie Baker on Monday joined a coalition of governors from eastern states who will work together in planning the region’s return to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic, at once warning residents to prepare for more death and illness ahead while offering a hint at how they will lift the stringent controls on daily life. Massachusetts’ participation in the seven-state council, which was initially announced Monday without Baker’s participation, came hours after the Republican governor cautioned against focusing too heavily on reopening parts of the economy while the state remains in the throes of the public health crisis. (Stout, 4/13)


The Hill:
California To Release Plan For Lifting Coronavirus Restrictions


California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Monday that he would release his plan for loosening some restrictions put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus at a press conference on Tuesday. During his Monday afternoon press conference, Newsom said that a detailed plan for an “incremental release of the stay-at-home orders” that uses “science to guide our decision-making and not political pressure” would be released the next day, according to the Associated Press. (Bowden, 4/13)


Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus Plan: California Working With Oregon, Washington


“COVID-19 doesn’t follow state or national boundaries,” Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “It will take every level of government, working together, and a full picture of what’s happening on the ground.” Newsom said he intends to provide details Tuesday on California’s strategy to begin to walk back his stay-at-home order and allow businesses to resume functions. (Luna, 4/13)


The Associated Press:
With No New Virus Hotspots, Debate Rages On When To Reopen


A lack of new hotspots in the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be holding Tuesday, fueling a debate about how soon authorities could start scaling back social restrictions and reopen economies. While concerns remained over the virus’ fresh spread in places like Japan and Indonesia, nowhere was currently undergoing the explosion in hospitalizations and deaths that were seen earlier in China, southern Europe and parts of the United States. (Blake, 4/14)


The Washington Post:
Virginia, Maryland, D.C. Weigh How Long To Keep Coronavirus Restrictions In Place


A group of scientists advising Virginia’s government said Monday that social distancing in the state appears to be working, and their models show the state’s hospitals have enough beds to handle the novel coronavirus pandemic for the next few months if current trends continue. But Gov. Ralph Northam (D) warned that the models also show lifting a stay-at-home order or other social distancing measures too soon would cause a spike in covid-19 cases that would overwhelm medical resources. “We can’t afford that,” Northam said. (Chason, Schneider and Nirappil, 4/13)


The Associated Press:
Far-Right US Politicians Label Lockdowns Anti-Constitutional


In deeply conservative eastern Washington state, a prominent state lawmaker kicked out of his Republican Party caucus labels the coronavirus as a foreign bio-weapon, accuses Marxists of using the pandemic to advance totalitarianism and rails against lockdown restrictions imposed by the Democratic governor. A California teleconference last week to consider sport fishing limits in rural areas unprepared to handle influxes of anglers descended into chaos — with callers branding state officials as “fascists” and declaring it was time to “make fishing great again.” (Geranios, 4/13)


The Washington Post:
South Dakota’s Governor Resisted Ordering People To Stay Home. Now It Has One Of The Nation’s Largest Coronavirus Hot Spots.


As governors across the country fell into line in recent weeks, South Dakota’s top elected leader stood firm: There would be no statewide order to stay home. Such edicts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Kristi L. Noem said disparagingly, reflected a “herd mentality.” It was up to individuals — not government — to decide whether “to exercise their right to work, to worship and to play. Or to even stay at home.” (Witte, 4/13)


NPR:
What Each State Is Doing To Fight The Coronavirus


Most have enacted stay-at-home orders, but policies vary from state to state when it comes to issues like school closures, election proceedings, interstate travel, business restrictions, resources for front line and unemployed personnel, and more. Each day brings changes. NPR is tracking developments in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia so you can see what’s changed and how states compare. (4/12)


CNN:
CDC Report Says People In Four Key Cities Are Listening To Stay At Home Orders 


People in four key cities are listening to orders to stay home, according to a report issued Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “When you put in these social distancing measures, they do seem to work,” said study coauthor Kathleen Ethier, leader of the CDC’s community mitigation task force for the Covid-19 response. (Cohen and Bruer, 4/14)


Trump Insists Final Lockdown Authority Rests With Him Despite Having Shrugged Virus Response Off To Governors

President Donald Trump, in response to a handful of governors announcing reopening pacts, claimed “total” authority for restarting the country lies with him. However, governors are the ones who have the power to issue stay-at-home orders. Meanwhile, speculation swirls about who will be appointed to Trump’s new task force dedicated to reopening the country. The president knocked down rumors that his daughter and son-in-law will be part of the efforts.


The Associated Press:
Trump Claims He Has ‘Total’ Authority Over Reopening Economy


President Donald Trump claimed the “total” authority to decide how and when to reopen the economy after weeks of tough social distancing guidelines aimed at fighting the new coronavirus. But governors from both parties were quick to push back, noting they have primary responsibility for ensuring public safety in their states and would decide when it’s safe to begin a return to normal operations. Trump would not offer specifics about the source of his asserted power, which he claimed, despite constitutional limitations, was absolute. (Colvin, Miller and Mulvihill, 4/14)


The Washington Post:
Governors Form Groups To Explore Lifting Virus Restrictions, While Trump Says He Alone Can Do So


“The authority of the president of the United States, having to do with the subject we’re talking about, is total,” Trump said, adding, “The president of the United States calls the shots.” He also suggested that if a governor declined to go along, he or she would pay a price. “If some states refuse to open, I would like to see that person run for election,” Trump said. (Craig and Dennis, 4/13)


The Wall Street Journal:
States Move To Coordinate On Reopening Plans


Governors have wide authority over state stay-at-home orders and mandates to close schools in their states. Unknown is how or whether the federal government could override those orders—or whether individuals would comply if they felt it was too unsafe to resume their normal lives. “The president can’t magically make them go away,” said Wendy Parmet, a public-health law professor at Northeastern University in Boston. “They’re not his orders.” She added, however, that the president’s statements or orders could influence some governors to defer to White House guidelines. “The federal government has enormous influence, persuasion and the power of the purse,” Ms. Parmet said. (Calfas, Restuccia and De Avila, 4/13)


The Associated Press:
New Trump Panel To Explore Path To Reopening US Economy


Every day, a team of public health officials turns up in the White House briefing room to lay out measures being taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic. A different team, expected to be formally announced as early as Tuesday, has begun meeting behind closed doors in the West Wing to tackle another matter paramount to President Donald Trump: how to begin reopening the American economy. The council, which is not expected to include health officials, could bring to the forefront the push-pull tensions within the White House between economists and public health officials over how quickly to reopen the economy vs. proceeding cautiously to ensure the virus doesn’t spike again. (Lemire, Freking and Madhani, 4/14)


Politico:
Trump’s Grand Reopening Council Triggers A Slew Of New Questions


By Monday afternoon, the White House still had not articulated who within the administration would lead the group and how it would differ from existing infrastructure such as the National Economic Council, which coordinates economic policy across the administration. Officials were assessing how the body could even include outside executives or doctors because that could run afoul of federal rules about engaging private-sector interests in critical government discussions. Business groups were also wary of publicly aligning themselves with the White House during a controversial crisis. Even the exact mission seemed unclear. (Cook, 4/13)


NPR:
Trump To Name New Coronavirus Advisers On Reopening The Country


A list of prospective councilors reported Monday by Fox News was heavy on administration officials and economic specialists. The report did not include anyone from certain groups that Trump has previously said he wanted to involve. “Not only the greatest minds, but the greatest minds in numerous different businesses, including the business of politics and reason,” as the president said on Friday. For example: “Very, very great doctors,” Trump said. (Ewing, 4/14)


The Washington Post:
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb Offers Plans For Beating Back Coronavirus


A year after Scott Gottlieb resigned unexpectedly as Food and Drug Administration commissioner to return home to his family in Westport, Conn., he has never been in such demand — advising lawmakers, governors, members of the Trump administration and even the president himself about combating the novel coronavirus. The reason is simple, say the officials seeking his advice: He’s got a plan. In fact, several of them. (McGinley, Dawsey and Abutaleb, 4/13)


The Washington Post:
Conservative Groups Mobilize To Push Trump To Reopen Economy Amid Pandemic


Senior White House officials briefed President Trump on Monday about his looming decision regarding how to eventually jump-start the economy, presenting him with a list of 100 business executives that could serve in an advisory panel. In a sign of how fluid things remain, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said these executives have not yet been formally notified that they could serve in an advisory role. (Stein and Costa, 4/13)


The Washington Post:
What U.S. Leaders Say Affects Whether Americans Stay At Home, CDC Data Suggests


The decision by Americans to hunker down during the coronavirus pandemic has been heavily influenced by pronouncements from national and local leaders, according to data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report offers the most robust information to date showing the relationship between people’s behavior and official policies announced by the White House and local leaders. (Wan and Bump, 4/13)

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