With some 95% of Americans under lockdown amid disaster declarations in all 50 states in response to the coronavirus pandemic, governors are making plans to reopen business and public life.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott wants to begin opening parts of his state next week, ahead of his previous May 1 target.
«We want to open. Texans love to work. Texans are dying to get back to work,» Abbott told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night. «We want them to get back to work, but we have to do so in a very safe way so that we don’t regenerate the spread of the coronavirus in the state of Texas.»
The governor said he and his team are working with medical experts and business leaders «to find the right strategy so we can unleash our economy.»
He believes most states can reopen sooner rather than later.
«We don’t have to wait until May 1,» he said.
The White House, said about 20 states intend to begin the reopening process as early as later this week but definitely before the end of April.
Trump has named a new task force to lead the federal government’s effort to restart the economy.
The president’s claim during the coronavirus task force briefing Monday that he has «total» authority to decide how and when to reopen the economy drew criticism from some governors, including New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Trump said the «president of the United States calls the shots,» promising to release documentation of his legal argument.
«We don’t have a king — we have a president, and that was a big decision,» Cuomo said in a «Today» show interview Tuesday. «We ran away from having a king, and George Washington was president, not King Washington so the president doesn’t have total authority. The Constitution is there, the 10th Amendment is there. … It’s very clear states have power by the 10th amendment.»
At the briefing Monday, Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump.
«I support the president’’s leadership under the national emergency declaration he signed,» said Pence.
«We’re standing before you today for the first time in history when all 50 states have issued emergency declarations, and the territories.»
Cuomo said Monday that his state, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, has contained the coronavirus and «the worst is over.»
He led a conference call on Monday with Democratic governors from states in his region to discuss ending the lockdown. Washington state, Oregon and California have announced a pact to work together on reopening their economies.
The models that have informed government decision-makers during the pandemic have drastically downgraded their intial forecasts.
The White House relied on a model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington to extend its «15 day to slow the spread» guidelines another 15 days.
The IHME initially forecast from 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the United States.
However, the prediction was downgraded several times, down to 93,000, then 81,000, then 61,000.
The IHME model also was way off in its prediction of hospitalizations. The April 1 forecast was 262,000. Now, with the peak having past, the prediction is 57,000.
Breitbart noted public officials were forced to rely on the models because they had no real-world data as the disease spread quickly.
Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel on Monday morning that the White House team is no longer relying on the models.
«It’s important to know that models are projections when you don’t have data,» Adams said. «Our original models were people’s best guesses, and/or they were informed by experiences in very different cultures and very different places.
«What the American people need to know now is we actually have data and we’re tracking that data and we’re not as reliant on these models as we are as say ‘this is what’s happening in California, this is what’s happening in New York, this is what’s happening in New Orleans.'»
Adams said that data is being given to local governments and communities «so they can make intelligent and informed decisions about when and where to reopen.»
«It’s not going to be a light-switch going back on. Different communities will reopen sooner than other communities and they’ll have to do so based on their testing data — not a model, but actual data — and their capacity to be able to follow up on cases and isolate them,» he said.
«I feel confident that some places will start to reopen in May, June — other places won’t — it will be piece by piece, bit by bit, but it will be data-driven.»