- At least 32 states in the US have lifted or eased their lockdown restrictions, including Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Maine.
- Charts of new daily coronavirus infections reported in those five states show that new cases aren’t declining anywhere but Alaska. In fact, they’re barely plateauing.
- If states ease social-distancing measures while outbreaks are still growing, they could see a surge in cases.
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States across the US are easing lockdown measures even though the country’s number of new daily infections isn’t in decline.
Overall, the number of new cases reported each day nationwide seems to have hit a plateau, but that trend obscures state-level realities. In many places outside of New York and New Jersey, case numbers are still rising.
Most guidelines suggest keeping social-distancing restrictions in place until there’s a downward trend in new infection rates. But charts showing cases reported over time in five states — Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Maine — reveal that Alaska is the only one with that kind of downward trajectory. All five, however, are reopening.
Alaska’s new cases peaked on April 1, about a week after its statewide stay-at-home order was issued. New case growth has been declining since.
Due to the incubation period of the virus and the way COVID-19 symptoms often worsen for at least a week after they appear, cases that are confirmed via tests generally represent infections acquired about two weeks prior.
Still, Alaska appears to be minimizing the number of new cases. Even though the state lifted its full stay-at-home order, restrictions are still in place: Indoor gatherings can only be up to 20 people or 25% of a building’s maximum occupancy — whichever is lower. Outdoor gatherings have a 20-person size limit. Restaurants are operate at 25% capacity, with tables at least 10 feet apart.
Colorado’s new case numbers are still higher than they were before its stay-at-home order was issued.
The state’s stay-at-home order was lifted late last month, though some cities such as Denver and Boulder extend theirs through Friday.
According to the Colorado Sun, Gov. Jared Pollis said last month that residents should still maintain social distancing in order to avoid overwhelming the state’s ICU hospital capacity. He also issued a state-wide mask-wearing requirement.
New case growth continued during the three-week stay-at-home order in Georgia, and has declined marginally in the two weeks since.
The state was one of the first to lift its stay-at-home order, though Gov. Brian Kemp extended it for people who are elderly, immunocompromised, and in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Businesses such as dine-in restaurants and barbershops re-opened at reduced capacity, and bars and nightclubs are closed through May 13.
Indiana reported its second-highest number of new cases — 837 — the day that its stay-at-home order lifted.
Indiana’s stay-at-home order lasted from March 24 to May 4. Cases are still rising in the state, but Gov. Eric Holcomb said that the state has prepared its healthcare system to adequately handle the hospitalizations, including the need for critical-care beds and ventilators.
Maine’s highest case numbers peaked during its stay-at-home order, but new cases aren’t dropping.
Maine entered phase one of its four-phase reopening plan on April 30. This phase calls for people who are able to work from home to continue to do so and requires wearing cloth face coverings in public settings.
New positive cases are still growing on the whole throughout the country when you separate out New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.