One-third of worldwide COVID-19 cases are in the U.S., some states begin lifting restrictions

CDC sends reopening guidelines to the White House as COVID-19 cases breach 1 million mark

The U.S. has topped one million confirmed cases of coronavirus Tuesday — close to a third of the cases worldwide.

More states across the U.S. are lifting restrictions this week.

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has submitted to the White House detailed guidelines on how offices can bring back employees, how restaurants can serve dine-in customers, how churches can welcome their faithful, and how schools can start teaching kids in classrooms again.

Churches are being advised to continue holding services online or at least have them in drive-in and outdoor venues.

If they’re opening their doors to parishioners, they are cautioned to stagger schedules of services and make sure pews are not packed with churchgoers wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart.

When schools do reopen, experts said students’ tables have to be 6-feet apart and they should be allowed to take their meals in the classrooms while cafeterias, gyms and other common areas of congregation remain closed.

Restaurants, on the other hand, are advised to provide one time use disposable menus, have tables 6 feet apart, use disposable utensils and plates, and limit the number of employees per shift.

Fiberglass covers at take-out counters called sneeze guards have to be installed as well.

Representatives from the restaurant industry said the new guidelines address many health and sanitation issues that are already covered by the food code but that they also expect restaurant owners to welcome the guidelines.

Many beaches have also reopened along with more restrictions easing in public places.

“We’ve seen masks. I mean we also have ours here too so we’re always prepared and safe. But honestly everyone has been keeping their distance, which is pretty cool…as have we,” said Victoria Valencia.

As Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina, and Oklahoma began reopening their businesses last week, this week — Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, and Tennessee are following suit.

This as health experts warned that opening too early could cause a 2nd wave of outbreaks that may be difficult to contain.

President Donald Trump on Monday claimed that more testings are available and should be at sufficient levels to support reopening efforts across the country.

“We are continuing to rapidly expand our capacity and confident that we have enough testing to begin reopening and the reopening process. We want to get our country open and testing is not going to be a problem at all. In fact, it’s going to be one of the great assets that we have.”

(Cover photo: The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration teams participate in a flyover as part a tour of U.S. cities to honor first responders and essential workers during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in New York City on April 28. US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Muncy/Handout via Reuters.)
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