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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 6th May 2020

News Highlights

Countries around Europe continued to gingerly nudge their way out of months of restrictive lockdowns. Italy, France and Spain, three of the hardest hit nations, have all partially eased lockdown restrictions to travel, exercise, shopping, dining and funerals.German museums and shops opened and barbershops seemed to be in demand in Austria too.

Along with the easing of restrictions, there is a cautious optimism and a sense that although there is still a long way to go, the 'new normal' will include a new way of living and working.

While shutting down entire swathes of the economic system was not easy, restarting has many challenges too. Case in point: Italy, where 4.4 million people were given permission to get back to work but only half could be absorbed by employers on that first day.

Lockdown Exit
Coronavirus: Italian workers swap lockdown for lockout | News
Italy’s efforts to breathe life into its crippled economy have been dealt a blow with the discovery that less than half the workers allowed to return to work on Monday actually got there. Of the 4.4 million people permitted to resume their jobs this week as the country’s coronavirus contagion slows, fewer than two million were taken back by employers, Rocco Palombella, the head of Italian union UILM, said. “People didn’t go back because companies cannot start full production when the market has collapsed,” he said.
Coronavirus: Several provinces begin to slowly loosen lockdown restrictions
Some provinces began easing their COVID-19 lockdowns on Monday, but top health officials cautioned many of the changes Canadians have made to their daily lives to slow the spread of the illness are here for the long haul. “It’s not over,” said federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu. “It is a cautious reopening in certain provinces and certain sectors, but … the new normal will have to include new ways of living, new ways of working that will protect us in this unique and difficult time.”
Sweden still hasn't locked down. But normal life is a luxury for only a few
I think there will be more restrictions in the near future, but I have a hard time imagining a complete lockdown. Swedes, who are too accustomed to their freedom, would protest. I don’t believe in a full lockdown; I think social distancing works to slow things down and flatten the curve. But it’s important to keep the economy rolling without risking more lives, and I know it can seem impossible to do both. “There are a few critical times in life when you must make sacrifices, not just for your own sake, but also for those around you, for your fellow human beings, and for our country,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, in a national address on March 22.
German museums and shops open as lockdown eased
Cabinet minister Peter Altmaier told us in a Newsnight interview there had been "a decline in infections, for now, at least four weeks in a row". Noting that there is no German word for "serendipity", Professor Robert Kaufman of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology said: "We apparently did not have hotspots, it spread slowly and we were lucky." Applying its large-scale testing capability and tracing of thousands of early cases, Germany contained its infection at a relatively low level. So now restrictions are being relaxed. Religious services resumed on Sunday, many shops were able to reopen on Monday, some museums will follow on Wednesday - as well as cabinet decisions about further easing of the rules.
Milan emerges from lockdown a different city
Italians are very wary and business is slow as some coronavirus-related restrictions are relaxed in Italy
Austria coronavirus under control despite lockdown easing
Austria's health minister said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic in the country was under control, three weeks after it began to ease a strict lockdown. "The situation is very constant, very stable," Rudolf Anschober said, adding the daily increase in new infections had shrunk to 0.2 percent, down from up to 50 percent in mid-March. Small shops and hardware and gardening stores reopened in mid-April after a month-long lockdown though wearing masks in shops and public transport, and practising social distancing became mandatory. Bigger shops followed suit this weekend, and restrictions that largely forbid people from leaving their homes were lifted. Classes in schools are resuming this month, and restaurants are expected to reopen by mid-May. Anschober said the first phase of lockdown lifting had succeeded "excellently", but reminded people to remain vigilant despite more easing measures.
Spain's path out of Covid lockdown complicated by polarised politics
On Wednesday, Pedro Sánchez will once again ask Spanish MPs to approve an extension of the state of emergency that underpins one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in Europe. If recent days and parliamentary sessions are anything to go by, the prime minister will not be in for an easy ride. At a time when opposition parties elsewhere in Europe are rallying around the flag, the adversaries of Sánchez’s socialist-led coalition are using the virus as a cudgel.
Europe’s reopening road map: How 11 countries are beginning to lift lockdowns
Europe is gingerly trying to get back to business, with restrictions loosening across the continent as the spread of the coronavirus slows. The German Spy Museum in Berlin opened its doors for the first time in weeks, bars in central Rome began offering takeaway services, and shaggy-haired Austrians flocked to barbers’ shops in Vienna. With Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Germany all relaxing some of their restrictions on Monday, Europe is settling down to a new normal as it returns to public life. It’s slower and less dynamic than before, and some restrictions will remain in place for weeks or even months, with face masks—ranging from clinical coverings to brightly colored homemade varieties—a ubiquitous reminder of the changes.
Sweden state epidemiologist 'not convinced' no lockdown was right call
The strategy architect isn't sure it was the right call not to introduce a lockdown. The state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet he was "not convinced at all" and his team was constantly examining how it was going and what else should be done. He also said it was important to "be humble all the time because you may have to change," according to The Independent. Sweden has introduced only a handful of rules and has left places like parks and restaurants open, but its death toll is much higher than neighboring countries'.
How Germany's states are pushing to relax coronavirus lockdown measures
Germany is this week further easing restrictions put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus. Hairdressers and barbers are now allowed to open their doors after weeks of forced closure, and lots of school pupils are getting back to the classroom. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders agreed to allow church services again, and to reopen playgrounds. Museums and zoos can also reopen. There have to be strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place for the reopening of all facilities.
Italy coronavirus lockdown restrictions relaxed as millions return to work
More than four million Italians were allowed back to work on Monday, while cafes also reopened in Europe's coronavirus epicentre. It marked the end of the the continent's first and longest, keeping people from their jobs and loved ones. Fabrizia Maselli was allowed to make the short 15-minute walk from home to visit her mother for the first time since the start of March, for an emotional reunion.
‘The biggest shock was fresh air’: Italy begins cautious exit from virus lockdown
“I literally haven’t been out of the house,” said Rina Sondhi, who lives in the Umbrian town of Orvieto. “The biggest shock for me was the fresh air. Today I feel liberated, but with caution – that’s the important thing, we can have the freedom but we must be really careful.” An estimated 4 million people returned to work on Monday as part of what the Italian government called the second phase of the country’s coronavirus emergency, with the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, appealing to the public in a Facebook post on Sunday night to “act responsibly”.
Italy Starts Easing Lockdown, Rebooting Its Stricken Economy
Move to reopen will test whether one of Europe’s largest economies can restart without igniting a new surge in infections
Coronavirus lockdown: Nigerians cautious as restrictions eased in Lagos and Abuja
In Nigeria, some businesses have reopened on the first working day after the easing of a lockdown imposed on key urban areas in a bid to restart Africa's largest economy. But the main doctors' association described the move as "very premature". In the commercial hub, Lagos, traffic jams were absent, indicating that many were remaining indoors. Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari said the measures had imposed "a very heavy economic cost". The lockdown began five weeks ago to contain the spread of coronavirus. As many in the big cities live a hand-to-mouth existence, the restrictions led to fears that it could leave people hungry as it cut off their means to earn money.
Europe is in a new phase of reopening, but it's hardly a return to normal
The Italian government said that to fully reopen stores, bars and restaurants it must slow the reproduction rate of the coronavirus to 0.5, meaning that each infected Italian is infecting less than one other person (an "R0 value" of 1, for instance, means that every infected person is infecting one other person). To reopen theaters, conventions and stadiums, Italy wants the number to be as close as possible to 0. Currently the figure is around 0.6-0.7 nationally. Restaurant, bar and store owners around Italy were last week "handing over their keys" to local mayors in protest over the slow reopening, and Conte apologized on Friday for a delay to financial aid payments to businesses impacted by the pandemic. A joint letter from 13 of the 20 Italian regions last Wednesday asked the government "to guarantee the possibility of reopening activities to all those who respect the measures already provided" by the lockdown decree. "It's clear that health is the first essential objective, but it can't be the only one," the letter added.
Erdogan says Turkey to start easing coronavirus restrictions as of Monday
Turkey will start easing coronavirus containment measures as of Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said, lifting intercity travel restriction in seven provinces and easing a curfew imposed for senior and youth citizens at the weekend after weeks. Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said senior and youth citizens will be allowed outside for 4 hours for one day a week starting this weekend and that travel restrictions would be lifted for seven cities, excluding Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. He said shopping malls, barber shops and some stores will be allowed to open on May 11 as long as they abide by normalisation rules, adding that universities would return to their academic calendar as of June 15. But, Erdogan warned that the government would impose much harsher measures if the normalisation plan is not followed.
Italy's St. Mark's Square Already Packed Again as Lockdown's Lifted
One of Italy's biggest hot spots -- for tourism, not coronavirus -- is packed again as the country's citizens rush out of nearly 10 weeks of lockdown. St. Mark's Square in Venice was filled Monday as Italy enters its phase 2 ... which allows visiting relatives within the region, taking part in funerals and exercising outside while maintaining social distancing. There's little social distancing going on in the Square ... but, on the other hand, almost everyone is wearing a face mask.
‘My soul is dancing’: Spain comes out to play after Europe's strictest lockdown
On Saturday, Spaniards took to streets and beaches as they were finally allowed out to exercise, after quarantine. On the Costa del Sol, Lola Culsán joined them
Coronavirus: Spain's capital Madrid adjusts to new normal
"I'm so glad to be finally able to walk outside for a bit," she says. "The people I work for are nice and treat me well but 48 days inside is a long time. "I'm grateful I could carry on working as many have lost their jobs."
Italy, France, Spain ease lockdowns after low coronavirus deaths
Italy, France and Spain are all beginning to loosen their stringent, weekslong coronavirus lockdowns. It comes as all three countries on Sunday reported their lowest coronavirus death and new infection rates in weeks. These countries are among the hardest-hit in Europe, with Italy being the world's coronavirus epicenter for much of March. All three countries have imposed strict lockdown measures since mid-March. Now, many aspects of normal life are being eased back in. Restrictions to travel, exercise, shopping, dining, funerals, and working patterns are all being reconsidered or partially lifted.
Spaniards soak up sun after lockdown eased, as daily death toll lowest in 6 weeks
Spain is gradually beginning its de-escalation from the strictest lockdown rules in Europe, with adults allowed outside for solo exercise near their homes for the first time since the confinement began on March 15. Four islands in the Canaries and the Balearics will be the first to transition to so-called "Phase One" on Monday, which will see a further opening up of small businesses and lifting of restrictions on movement.
France, Italy and Spain prepare to ease coronavirus lockdowns
The Guardian (late April) takes a closer look at European opening plans
Exit Strategies
The Guardian view on a lockdown exit strategy: get plans in place
The task, as Mr Speranza says, is to work out a way “to live with the virus” until a vaccine is discovered. Mr Sánchez has indicated that a ban on all non-essential work will be lifted after Easter. Other European countries, including France and Austria, where some shops will reopen next week, have also begun to game-plan the second phase of the crisis. The modus vivendi will, if it is to work, involve continued physical distancing, much greater testing and contact tracing in the community, and a functioning antibody test to establish who has had and recovered from the disease.
Germany set to pass lockdown decisions back to states
Germany could soon see all shops reopen and all students return to school in stages. The mooted changes would curtail Germany's largely nationwide approach to restrictions, restoring an even freer hand to the states.
Hope and Worry Mingle as Countries Relax Coronavirus Lockdowns
At least a dozen countries pulled back on restrictions put in place to combat the virus. But leaders warned that an uptick in infections could shut life down again.
Coronavirus: Bavarian beer gardens to reopen as lockdown measures eased in Germany
Restaurants and hotels are also set to reopen this month in the southeastern state of Bavaria.. In a more immediate lifting of coronavirus lockdown measures, families in Bavaria will be able to visit elderly relatives in care homes again from Wednesday. Mr Soeder is among the first state governors to announce concrete plans to further reopen the economy. Bavaria - which is Germany's second-most populous state and contains the city of Munich - had the highest per capita coronavirus infection rate in the country.
Coronavirus and college: UC Berkeley chancellor expects hybrid plan, no tuition break for fall
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ expects the school to adopt a “hybrid plan” for the fall semester, with some classes in person and others online. Christ, speaking Tuesday during an online panel discussion with other campus leaders, made her most extensive public comments about Cal’s plans for the fall. She said the school will make a final decision by mid-June and intends to have “a semester in the cloud for students who cannot come to campus.”
Coronavirus: 'Segment and shield' way to lift UK lockdown now
Strengthening protection for people shielding, while easing restrictions for everyone else, is the only immediate way to safely lift the UK's coronavirus lockdown, researchers say. They say people could be sorted into three groups by risk - the most vulnerable, those caring for or living with them and everyone else. It is not pain-free or perfect, they say, but could lift curbs for many yet still protect the NHS and save lives. Their unpublished work uses modelling.
Coronavirus: Possible post-lockdown workplace rules revealed
Reduced hot-desking and alternatives to social distancing where it is not possible are among measures being considered to let workplaces reopen. One of seven draft plans to ease anti-coronavirus restrictions, seen by the BBC, also urges employers to minimise numbers using equipment, stagger shift times and maximise home-working. PM Boris Johnson is to reveal a "roadmap" out of lockdown on Sunday. But the UK must not lift restrictions too soon, he said in a video message.
Plan to lift Wales' coronavirus lockdown revealed - with a warning that 'even more' will be asked of us
Health minister Vaughan Gething said the Welsh Government hoped the 'highly ambitious' plan would be ready at the end of the month.
French Law Firms Prepare for a 'Soft Opening' After COVID-19 Lockdown
Managing partners say that while their offices will be ready to welcome lawyers and staff May 11, most will probably choose to stay home for now.
Europe’s reopening road map: How 11 countries are beginning to lift lockdowns
Europe is gingerly trying to get back to business, with restrictions loosening across the continent as the spread of the coronavirus slows. The German Spy Museum in Berlin opened its doors for the first time in weeks, bars in central Rome began offering takeaway services, and shaggy-haired Austrians flocked to barbers’ shops in Vienna. With Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Germany all relaxing some of their restrictions on Monday, Europe is settling down to a new normal as it returns to public life. It’s slower and less dynamic than before, and some restrictions will remain in place for weeks or even months, with face masks—ranging from clinical coverings to brightly colored homemade varieties—a ubiquitous reminder of the changes.
Portugal starts to emerge from coronavirus lockdown
Portugal will begin to ease its coronavirus lockdown on Monday, with small shops, hair salons and car dealers resuming operations as a state of emergency was lifted after more than six weeks. The wearing of face masks or visors in stores and on public transport is compulsory under the government's plan unveiled last week for the gradual reopening of the country.
Coronavirus UK: Boris Johnson to ease lockdown restrictions in workplaces | Health
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said on Sunday that Britons would need to live with “some degree of constraint” until a vaccination became available. “Ultimately, unless and until we have a vaccine then I suspect that we are going to have to live with some degree of constraint because of the nature of the virus,” he said. “But we obviously want to, wherever possible, and consistent with the measures on public health, restore people’s lives to as close to normal as possible.” Here is a looks at what the nation’s workplaces might look like once restrictions are lifted.
Coronavirus France: Cameras to monitor masks and social distancing
Video surveillance cameras in France will monitor how many people are wearing masks and their compliance with social distancing when the coronavirus lockdown is eased next week. The resort city of Cannes on the Côte d'Azur has trialled the monitoring software, installed at outdoor markets and on buses. It is not clear how many other cities will adopt this digital surveillance. French firm Datakalab says its software does not violate EU data privacy law.
France toll tops 25,000, PM defends post-lockdown plan
Spain began a four-phase plan to reopen the country by the end of June, while the 24-hour death tally from coronavirus stayed under 200 for the second day in a row. Red Cross workers handed out protective masks at Madrid's metro stations today as mask usage in public transport is mandatory. Small businesses like beauty salons and bookstores can start limited services and customers can pick up take-away orders from restaurants. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday that six million masks were due to be distributed in Spain, one of the worst-hit nations by the global pandemic.
Coronavirus: France gets ‘green, yellow and red zones’ to help guide lockdown easing
France has been split into red, orange and green zones to show how the lockdown may be relaxed across the country. The health minister has revealed a map showing the worst-affected areas by coronavirus by measuring the circulation of Covid-19 and the burden on intensive care units in different regions. It will serve as a reference when the country eases confinement measures after 11 May. The government has said "green zones" will be able to lift some restrictions more rapidly than "red zones", which currently includes the whole of the Paris region and northeast France.
Australians told how coronavirus restrictions will be eased ahead of Friday's announcement
Australians have been told how coronavirus restrictions will slowly be lifted. Scott Morrison said easing of rules conditional on uptake of COVID-19 app. Chief medical officer said a slow, staggered move out of lockdown was likely. Community sports could restart first along with partial university reopenings. Each stage of restriction easing would need to be reviewed over multiple weeks. Comes as psychology expert said return to society could be a shock for some. 'You’ve been on your own so much - it might be a little odd,' the expert said
Coronavirus restrictions could become 'new normal' until vaccine found
Some social distancing measures will remain in place until a coronavirus vaccine is developed but ministers will seek to restore people's lives to "as close to normal as possible", a Cabinet minister today told the daily news conference. Michael Gove warned people would have to live with "some degree of constraint" until they can be immunised against the deadly disease - suggesting Britons would have to accept a "new normal".
Coronavirus restrictions on 1.8m 'shielded' people to be reviewed
Blanket restrictions on nearly two million people told to shield due to the coronavirus will be reviewed in a bid to create “more stratified” guidance, according to England’s deputy chief medical officer. At the start of the lockdown, 1.8 million people in England were asked to stay indoors for 12 weeks as they were considered most at risk from Covid-19. Speaking at the Downing Street daily briefing, Dr Jenny Harries said officials were “trying to review” the restrictive rules “because we do recognise that asking somebody to stay shielded … for a very long period of time … is quite a difficult thing for them to do.”
Australia edges closer to lifting coronavirus restrictions as app downloads surpass 4million
ABF has given the go-ahead for NZ Warriors to travel to Australia on Sunday. Downloads for the coronavirus tracing app have surpassed four million. Scott Morrison said pubs could reopen sooner if more people download the app. Officials are expecting millions more to download the app by Friday next week. The national cabinet has brought forward the decision to ease restrictions
France and Spain reveal plans to relax lockdown
Shops and schools across France will reopen and free movement will be restored within 60 miles of homes when the lockdown is eased on May 11, the government announced last night.Alongside measures
Coronavirus: French PM to set out road to normality, restrictions ease in Australia
Western Australia and Queensland cautiously loosen social distancing rules, while Beijing bans ‘uncivilised’ behaviour
Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon rejects claims of lockdown lift in May
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has denied claims that lockdown restrictions could be lifted next month. Several Sunday papers have reported that lockdown measures could be relaxed from 11 May, including the re-opening of schools and some retailers. Ms Sturgeon said it was still not possible to say when schools in Scotland would reopen. She said that all decisions must be "solidly based and not premature". Three days ago, Ms Sturgeon announced that Scotland's coronavirus lockdown would continue for "at least another three weeks".
Partisan Exits
Live updates: Vice President Pence says coronavirus task force could be disbanded within a month
Vice President Pence told reporters today that the coronavirus task force created to manage the federal government’s response to the pandemic could be disbanded within a month because “of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.” The number of people who have died in the U.S. from covid-19 passed 70,000 on Tuesday, with nearly 1.2 million confirmed cases, according to state health departments and tracking by The Washington Post.
America's coronavirus reopening debate comes down to how much a human life is worth, New York governor says
Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said debates on how soon states should ease social distancing restrictions come down to the value of human life -- and that policymakers are avoiding saying so explicitly. Cuomo, whose state by far has the most recorded coronavirus cases, reacted Tuesday to projections that the country's coronavirus death rate will soar because many states are easing restrictions now. "The fundamental question, which we're not articulating, is how much is a human life worth?" Cuomo said at a news conference.
U.S. daily coronavirus death rate will more than double by June 1, draft government report projects
Covid-19 deaths in the United States will rise to more than 3,000 a day by June 1, with new confirmed cases surging to about 200,000 daily, a draft government report projects. The predictions belie the projections made Sunday evening by President Trump, who said the U.S. could eventually suffer as many as 100,000 deaths. At 3,000 deaths per day and rising, the national total would quickly outstrip that number if the new report is correct.
Coronavirus Reopening: Cuomo Outlines May 15 Regional Reopening Criteria
On the topic of reopening, he said it would be “more complicated then the close down,” which he called “a blunt operation.” Reopening is “more nuanced, you have to be more careful,” the governor said. The reopening will be phased and work hand-in-hand with measuring certain metrics. “It’s not going to happen state-wide,” Cuomo said. “And rather than wait for the whole state to be ready, reopen on a regional basis. If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready, they’re going to be waiting a long time. So, analyze the situation on a regional basis.”
The price of reopening the economy: tens of thousands of American lives
In an interview published in Tuesday's edition of the New York Post, Trump said Americans were ready come out of isolation and get back to normal life. "I think they're starting to feel good now. The country's opening again. We saved millions of lives, I think," Trump said. "You have to be careful, but you have to get back to work," he said. "People want the country open... I guess we have 38 states that are either opening or are very close." A Washington Post and University of Maryland national poll released Tuesday finds Americans widely oppose reopening most businesses. While 56% said they are comfortable going to the grocery store now, 67% said they would be uncomfortable visiting a retail store and 78% said they'd be uncomfortable going to a sit-down restaurant, according to the poll.
Coronavirus model projects 134,000 deaths in US, nearly double its last estimate
Ali Mokdad, a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME, told CNN's John King that there are "several reasons" for the increased projections. "One of them is increased mobility before the relaxation, premature relaxation, of social distancing," he said. "We're adding more presumptive deaths as well, and we're seeing a lot of outbreaks in the Midwest, for example." He said multiple variables impact infections -- like heat, testing capacity and population density -- but "the most important one is mobility." Right now, he said, "we're seeing an increase in mobility that's leading to an increase in mortality, unfortunately, in the United States."
The reopening gamble: Set your timer for three weeks
Set a timer for three weeks. By late May, we should know whether certain US states collected on a major gamble or committed a hideous error by reopening their economies. If a tide of sickness and death overwhelms the early openers, lockdowns may return, making Americans' trudge back toward normal economic life even slower and more painful. But if infections can be kept at manageable levels, these pioneers may begin to piece together a vision of the "new normal" that everyone keeps talking about. The good news is that some of the states beginning to open up — like South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin were never as savagely hit as states like New York, California and Michigan. The bad news is that their turn may be next. Science warns the virus is still out there, waiting for an opening.
Warmer weather and debate over restrictions drive Americans outside while coronavirus cases rise
From California to New York, more Americans are headed outside -- some for recreation and others in protest. But as some states loosen or let go of their stay-at-home orders, researchers predict a higher death toll from coronavirus this summer than previously expected. As of Sunday, more than 1.1 million people in the US have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 67,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. States such as California have stood firm on their stay-at-home orders -- and have been met with protests.
Northern Ireland church leaders urge politicians to consider easing coronavirus restrictions
The leaders of Northern Ireland's main Churches have urged politicians to consider easing restrictions on private prayer in church buildings "sooner rather than later". In a joint statement, the leaders of the Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland, Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church and the Irish Council of Churches, said they accept that now is not the time for "a full return" to collective worship in our Churches. However, they asked for the issue to be reviewed regularly.
Reopening of America: More than half of states will lift coronavirus restrictions by the end of the week
In Nevada, a chanting crowd of protesters marched up to the door of the governor’s residence on Saturday, drawing police who stood with automatic weapons. And a group demanding to “Fully Open California” organized to cause traffic gridlock in Laguna Beach. With confirmed US. deaths topping 65,000, efforts to reopen the country also are sparking outcries about public safety. But officials have battled crowds and some public resistance to mask-wearing and social distancing measures.
States are easing coronavirus restrictions and 'it's going to cost lives,' researcher says
"You're making a big mistake. It's going to cost lives," Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster preparedness specialist at Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN on Friday. Redlener and Joseph Fair, a senior fellow in pandemic policy at Texas A&M University, sent a report to all governors on Friday, warning them that no state or city should reduce restrictions until coronavirus infections have been steadily decreasing for 10 days to two weeks, and not until enough tests are available to assess just how many people really are infected. Redlener's warning comes as more than 30 states are easing social distancing restrictions this weekend. The changes ranged from opening state parks to allowing some businesses to restart.
As Coronavirus Restrictions Ease, Many Still Wary
As states around the country begin lifting stay-at-home orders, individuals face their own choice over whether it feels safe to resume activities we all used to take for granted. We asked NPR listeners to tell us how they are making these decisions and nearly 250 people responded. In general, it's clear that even as local officials lift restrictions, many people plan to wait longer before resuming their old routines. "As long as there are new cases, I think it's not really safe," says Naomi Silas, a freelance graphic designer and graduate student in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Coronavirus: Lockdown should ease to help economy, says Philip Hammond
Former chancellor Philip Hammond has urged the government to set out its plan to restart the economy. Ministers have been reluctant to discuss a lockdown exit strategy, arguing that it might undermine the message for people to stay at home. Mr Hammond said the country cannot afford to wait until a vaccine is developed and called on the government to start easing lockdown measures.
Continued Lockdown
Coronavirus: Robin Swann says lockdown debate getting ahead of itself
The debate about easing Northern Ireland's pandemic lockdown restrictions is "getting ahead of itself", the health minister has said. A further 17 Covid-19 related deaths in NI were reported by Robin Swann's department, bringing its total to 404. The executive is holding talks about whether to relax any measures to curb the spread of the virus. "Call it my May Day alert," said Mr Swann, as he urged people to stay at home this bank holiday weekend.
Coronavirus: Cobourg, Port Hope staying the course on closures, restrictions for now
Northumberland County has not seen a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in quite some time now. As of May 5, the area has seen 13 confirmed cases — all of which have been resolved, according to numbers provided by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. But that doesn’t mean the Town of Cobourg and the Municipality of Port Hope are jumping at the idea of lifting restrictions and reopening facilities and amenities just yet.
Gov. Tom Wolf talks about coronavirus and reopening more of Pennsylvania
Wolf didn’t offer a timetable for opening another series of counties, including the southcentral part of the state. “There is no schedule,” Wolf said. Last week, Wolf had said some southcentral counties could be among the candidates for reopening, but he didn’t identify those counties. He didn’t offer any new hints in Tuesday’s media call. Wolf said the state hasn’t made a decision to remove the number of cases in nursing homes and prisons when examining counties for reopening. He did say those cases would be considered in making decisions. “The goal is to keep people safe,” Wolf said.
Defying French lockdown lift, Guadeloupe says won't open schools now
Mayors in Guadeloupe, a French overseas department in the Caribbean, have voted against reopening schools next week as stipulated in plans drawn up in Paris for easing the coronavirus lockdown. The region, like France’s other overseas territories scattered around the world, is subject to French laws, but mayors have authority over schools. On Monday, they gathered in an extraordinary “territorial conference” with the archipelago’s departmental and regional presidents to discuss the reopening of schools. Of the 32 mayors, 29 voted against restarting classes when the lockdown starts to be eased in France from May 11, saying students should go back only in September.
Scientific Viewpoint
Countries lifting coronavirus lockdown too early will increase deaths and cause economic meltdown, a top scientist warns
Yaneer Bar-Yam, from EndCoronavirus.org, a group made up of scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said America was not ready to open up because it was slow off the mark with its lockdown. Tweeting a graphic comparing countries that crushed the infection curve, he said: "Overwhelming data says opening prematurely will increase cases, escalate loss of life and economic harm. "Countries that acted late to impose social distancing and testing are suffering. "Countries that acted early soon will safely restart economies. "Don’t play with fire."
Workers should work 'four days on, 10 days off' to ease coronavirus lockdown
The government should tell businesses to enact a “four days on, 10 days off” policy for workers once the coronavirus lockdown is eased, according to one of the UK’s leading chemical biologists. Chair of chemical biology at Imperial College London Professor Keith Willison, writing for the neoliberal think tank Adam Smith Institute, said this cyclical plan would help avoid a second peak while getting the economy moving again.
Coronavirus lockdown should continue for elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, academics say
“Segmentation and shielding recognises that, although social distancing impacts on the whole of society, the public health burden of Covid-19 is concentrated in a subset of vulnerable people,” said Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. “By targeting protection to those that need it most, the strategy helps to ensure that the health system is not overwhelmed by severe cases, while giving policy makers greater leeway to partially relax social distancing measures for the majority of the population,” he said. The academics have modelled a range of scenarios to illustrate how different restrictions could be applied to different groups. They have sent their findings to the UK and Scottish Governments.
New report models Italy's potential exit strategy from COVID-19 lockdown | Imperial News
It finds that if the country returns to just 20% of mobility levels before the lockdown – mobility being a measure of people going to work, shops, visiting friends and family etc. – then deaths could rise again within just three weeks. The authors warn that some social distancing measures will need to remain in place, along with testing, contact-tracing and isolation of people infected with Covid-19, to keep transmission in check and prevent a resurgence of the outbreak.
Coronavirus: Italy 'could be heading for deadlier second peak' after easing lockdown, scientists warn
Italy could be set for a “second peak” of deaths after easing its lockown measures, researchers tracking the coronavirus outbreak have predicted. According to analysis carried out by Imperial College London, the country could be set for a large increase in deaths within three weeks of partially lifting its social-distancing restrictions. Currently, Italy has the second highest-death rate in Europe, with 29,315 deaths, behind 29,502 in the UK. But researchers from Imperial have forecast a second spike will take place if the country returns to just 20 percent of its pre-lockdown mobility levels – a measure of how much people leave the home.