President Donald Trump is scheduled to leave the White House on Friday for the first time in a month to travel to Camp David, the day after the expiration of federal social distancing guidelines.
As many states move toward reopening after a horrific April that saw nearly 60,000 deaths because of the coronavirus , one California county isn’t waiting for permission. Sparsely populated Modoc County, in the Golden State’s far northeastern corner, plans to reopen on Friday despite a statewide stay-at-home order.
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Here are the most important developments on the coronavirus pandemic:
- The White House released a three-phase plan on reopening the U.S. economy. President Donald Trump said he has no plans on extending social distancing guidelines, which expired Thursday. But Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, suggested that social distancing would exist in some form through the summer.
- Layoffs amount to 1 in 6 American workers and encompass more people than the entire population of Texas. Some economists say the U.S. unemployment rate for April may be as high as 20% – a figure not seen since the Depression of the 1930s, when joblessness peaked at 25%.
- A few hundred demonstrators gathered at the Michigan Capitol, calling for an end to the state of emergency order enacted in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Amid all the reopening talk this week, Dr. Tom Inglesby, a leading expert on pandemics, reminded us: We will not have complete “normal” – no masks, fully social – until we have a vaccine. Read more in The Back Story.
What we’re talking about: A Kentucky woman went grocery shopping while dressed in a vast hoop skirt and donning a begoggled beak. She was an instant hit on social media. Here’s why she did it.
White House announces new plan as social distancing guidelines expire
The deadline to lift social distancing guidelines quietly passed Thursday as the White House pushed a new set of suggestions designed to reopen the U.S. economy now decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House is sunsetting the federal guidelines, once a central tenet of its coronavirus response and the focus of the administration’s message. The Trump administration is under economic pressure to shift its strategy from battling the coronavirus to pressing ahead with a message of economic revival that he hopes will help secure his reelection in November.
The administration has pivoted to a three-phase plan that leaves the decision to states, creating a patchwork strategy that some health experts warn could undermine the progress that has been made in stemming the spread of coronavirus.
— Courtney Subramanian and Michael Collins
Street vendors will caravan in Los Angeles to demand coronavirus relief
The Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign, a coalition of over 60 organizations that led the movement to legalize street vending in the city, will hit the streets Friday to demand coronavirus relief.
Unpermitted street vendors are banned on city and county levels. Those who don’t comply could face a $1,000 fine or misdemeanor charge.
“The key piece about that is that folks who have misdemeanors are then prioritized for potential deportation,” Lyric Kelkar, a policy and research associate with Inclusive Action, a co-founding organization of the campaign, told USA TODAY.
Street vendors are typically immigrants, women, seniors, people of color and low income, which puts them in a vulnerable position, said Kelkar. Many are unable to get a federal stimulus check and are dependent on donations to survive the economic shutdown.
Delta, United, JetBlue will require passengers to wear masks starting Monday
As travelers begin to return to the country’s airports, they’ll notice the changes meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Beginning Monday, Delta, United and JetBlue will require all passengers to wear face coverings. Delta and JetBlue will make them mandatory from the time they check in through the time they deplane. Delta, which says customers can take them off for meals, will also require them in its Sky Club lounges.
Wearing face masks will be customary, and even required by most domestic airlines. More airports may use machines to check passengers for fever. Security checkpoints may have plexiglass shields between passengers and screeners.
— Curtis Tate
Broadway actor Nick Cordero’s wife hopeful he’ll ‘wake up’ from coma
Nick Cordero‘s wife Amanda Kloots is hopeful the Broadway star “will wake up” from a medically induced coma despite several setbacks in his recovery from the coronavirus, including the amputation of his right leg.
During a virtual appearance on “CBS This Morning” Thursday, Kloots said Cordero’s blood count dropped “really, really low,” suggesting there may be internal bleeding.
The “Rock of Ages” star was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for what was initially thought to be pneumonia, Kloots wrote on Instagram on April 1. An initial coronavirus test came up negative, though a subsequent test was positive for COVID-19.
— Cydney Henderson
Reopening the US: New Mexico eases business restrictions starting Friday
New Mexico is among the latest states to ease business restrictions, with many nonessential retailers, pet groomers, state parks and golf courses allowed to reopen beginning Friday under a modified state public health order. For the latest details on your state’s plan, follow along here.
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY
Michigan protesters rally at Capitol: ‘You’re Killing Small Businesses’
A few hundred demonstrators gathered under light rain outside the Capitol on Thursday in Lansing, urging lawmakers not to extend Michigan’s state of emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic.
They carried signs that read “You’re Killing Small Businesses,” and “Liberty or Death.” Many also wore hats or carried other paraphernalia touting President Donald Trump and his 2020 re-election campaign. Some carried rifles, as pointed out by Sen. Dayna Polehanki on Twitter. Open carry of firearms is allowed on Capitol grounds and inside the Capitol, said Lt. Brian Oleksyk of the Michigan State Police.
Some wore face masks but many did not. Many also did not observe social distancing guidelines that call for six-foot separations between people. There were also a few counter-protesters.
— Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press
Gov. Gavin Newsom closes some Southern California beaches
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a targeted “hard close” of some Southern California beaches after they were overrun with people during a heatwave last weekend. The announcement followed speculation Newsom would close all beaches in the state after a memo to police chiefs leaked Wednesday.
“The conditions last week, the images we saw on a few of our beaches were disturbing,” Newsom said. He called out crowded beaches in Orange County and praised local officials in San Diego, Los Angeles and other regions for not allowing their beaches to be overrun.
Newsom said the targeted closure affecting “a few coastal cities off and around the Orange County area” would be short-term and could be rolled back once plans were in place to reopen with guidelines to maintain physical distancing.
Local leaders in San Diego County have used measures such as parking lot closures to help meter the number of people who can access the beach.
— Joel Shannon
More coronavirus headlines from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press