Hunker down: Some states say no full-scale reopening until coronavirus vaccine, treatment is ready
As most states begin to move forward with measures to reopen their economies following strict lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, some governors and big-city mayors are now saying the restrictions will not fully be lifted until a vaccine or treatment for the disease is available — a timeline that could take a year or more.
The leaders' comments indicate Americans could be living with orders restricting personal and economic activity for much longer than many anticipate.
They also come after President Trump said Friday that the U.S. will reopen "vaccine or no vaccine," and told governors in a call Monday that the federal government "will step in if we see something going wrong, or if we disagree" with how states are lifting their lockdown orders aimed at preventing the virus' spread.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was the latest of the state executives to make such comments in a press conference on Monday.
"You, too, should expect to continue with this for the foreseeable future," Murphy said of the state's coronavirus restrictions, as he outlined when workers might be able to get back to their offices.
He continued: "Until either a proven vaccine is in our midst or proven therapeutics are widely available, we cannot firmly enter the new normal, which eventually awaits us when life will once again return to all of our workplaces, downtowns and main streets. Most importantly, we will continue to be guided by the principle that public health creates economic health. And if we begin to see a backslide in public health, we will have to also pull back on the reins of our restart."
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that crowds would not be able to gather for professional or college sports in her state until a vaccine is available or there's a rigorous testing regime in place with signs of herd immunity in the population.
"We're gonna be in a new normal for quite a while. And it doesn't mean that sports is over," Whitmer said in a press conference Friday, mentioning a plan being pursued by the MLB to play a shortened season with no fans present.
"We need a vaccine, and we need to have mass quantities available," she continued. "Or we need to be able to test and be able to acknowledge that we've got some immunity that's built up. We're not there yet and until that happens I think all the organizers of these leagues understand how important it is that we act responsibly here."
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