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Daily COVID-19 Updates: April 17

April 17, 2020
States Move Towards Tentative Reopening Policies; White House Releases 3-Phase Guidance Plan

With the predicted peak of the coronavirus in the rear view mirror, the federal and state governments of the United States released plans this week in earnest to reopen their economies and stem the serious economic impact of quarantines. But the uncertainty over testing shortages and tense political climate did not do much to make it easy.

Political conflict over opening quarantines began early in the week, when, after two groups of governors from the East and West coasts formed cross-state partnerships to coordinate state quarantine-lifting measures. The President claimed he would use Presidential power to open the state economies himself.

Things cooled down by Thursday, though, when the President released a guidance plan for governors to reopen their economies, giving them leeway for key decisions. But the next day, April 17, President Trump appeared to return to his aggressive push to reopen the economy by tweeting support for protestors who have organized calls for an immediate end to quarantines. The President also exhorted governors requesting assistance from the federal government to produce more testing equipment to “step up.”

Throughout it all, more major manufacturers will reopen their factories to smaller, or more socially-distanced, shifts. Boeing, for one, is expected to reopen its Seattle-area plants on Tuesday. Now that the fight against the virus appears to be waning, the next step will be fighting to prevent further economic fallout.

The White House’s Plan to Lift Lockdowns

The White House’s guidance on how states should open their state economies back up lays out a protocol in which states closely monitor infection rates over the course of three 14-day periods. As long as infections in a state implementing the plan continue to fall, it can pass through the “phases,” which are gradually less restrictive.

According to the White House, some states may already be able to begin the first phase of the plan, which allows most of the population to return to work, albeit with social distancing and mask protocols in place. Read the full story here.

Innovation Advancing PPE

Dow, a leading manufacturer of polyethylene resins, is one of many manufacturers altering its operations in order to produce hand sanitizer and protective equipment to help alleviate shortages. On April 17, the company announced they had designed a simplified two-piece face shield that would allow them to accelerate production of the face-covering equipment. The company plans to produce and donate 100,000 face shields to support Michigan hospitals.

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