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President Donald Trump's administration and state governors are developing plans to ease social distancing guidelines once conditions are deemed safe enough.
The rough plan aims to lift some social distancing guidelines after May 1, with harder-hit areas waiting longer. The final decision will ultimately be in governors' hands; varying levels of severity in different states have created controversy in regards to federal "one-size-fits-all" recommendations.
Many left-rated voices framed Trump's rhetoric as overzealous, and attitude toward governors as borderline tyrannical. Right-rated outlets generally focused more on public frustration with how politicians have handled the pandemic.
Other stories this week from AllSides: Easter Sunday celebrations were marked by realities of the pandemic; the New York Times took some heat for its coverage of Tara Reade's sexual assault allegationagainst Joe Biden; and President Trump announced his administration would halt funding to the WHO, pending a review of its handling of the outbreak.
From the AllSides blog: In rare bipartisan harmony, media outlets from left to right were quick to vet and correct a misleading tweet from Trump. And if you find yourself running into fake news or false claims, check out these five tools for avoiding media manipulation.
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Snippets from the Left
"Trump and red state governors for weeks have fairly bragged about how large parts of the farm belt have escaped the ravages of the virus without the enforced shelter-in-place policies common on both coasts. It’s still unclear whether the states actually “flattened the curve,” or if the virus just reached there later. But now, cases are erupting, threatening a local population that doesn’t always have easy access to the same health care as more urban areas. And the outbreaks are striking the heart of the nation’s farming and meatpacking industry, potentially disrupting the national distribution of food as meat processing plants close down and truckers who move food across the country are sidelined by illness."
"Over the last five days, confirmed cases have increased more than 30 percent in North Dakota, 22 percent in Arkansas, 26 percent in Oklahoma, and 260 percent in South Dakota. That compares to roughly 26 percent over the same period in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic. Trump has repeatedly suggested that these states could lead the way in his plan to reopen the nation’s economy in “beautiful little pieces.”"
"Governors who do not work for Trump do not need, and did not ask for, his permission to move forward with re-opening plans on their own timelines. But Trump wants to pretend that his "authority" is broad and imposing, so he presented his retreat [Tuesday] in a self-congratulatory way: the president has decided to let governors who were going to do their own thing proceed with their own plans."
"The hullabaloo Trump created on Monday has already started to fade, but the incident is a reminder of a larger phenomenon: he often just blurts stuff out without a lot of thought. This week, the president claimed powers he did not have over state-based stay-at-home orders, leading to yet another retreat. It's a reminder that taking Trump's rhetoric about his own presidency at face value is rarely a good idea."
"President Donald Trump held a marathon series of calls on Wednesday with hundreds of U.S. business leaders to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, after rejecting a separate plan to create a smaller task force to advise him on reopening the economy. As the outbreak shows signs of plateauing in the country, corporate executives have been asked to advise Trump on how to resume something approaching normal business and social life. Trump was scheduled to speak with more than 200 leaders from nearly every corner of the U.S. economy in four calls."
"Trump told the executives that the government might soon announce the availability of a saliva test for Covid-19, which the CEOs said could be a positive development to keep employees safe once they return to work, according to another person briefed on the call. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a saliva test developed by Rutgers University and others for emergency use. Trump also said companies may need to maintain social-distancing measures and have employees wear masks to safely reopen. During a separate call with technology companies, executives were cautioned that even after lockdowns end, social distancing may continue to be the norm, according to a person familiar with the discussion."
Snippets from the Right
"The federal government has issued constantly evolving criteria for Americans to return to work safely during the coronavirus crisis, while various governors this week began adding their own layers of rules for reopening states for business — a process increasingly leading to partisan disputes in state capitals. The guidance has ranged from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying on March 7 that “contact tracing” — finding every sick person and figuring out who they’ve interacted with — was recommended but “not practical or achievable in all situations,” to Tuesday, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom said contact tracing will be a key benchmark for reopening his state’s businesses and schools."
"Republican state legislators are battling with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who has joined forces with Mr. Cuomo and the other Northeastern governors to craft their own rules independently of the federal government. The state GOP is pushing a proposal that would allow Pennsylvania’s county commissioners to decide when to reopen their 67 counties, following guidelines from the CDC and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration."
"An arms race of sorts has emerged between red states and blue states to reopen America, with Democrat and Republican governors developing rivaling plans to lead their states out of the darkness of the coronavirus crisis while the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force and President Donald Trump’s ultimate decision looms large over the country."
"The White House, sources familiar with the matter told Breitbart News, has a list of approximately 20 states they intend to begin the reopening process in as soon as potentially later this week but definitely before the end of April. The virus, public health and federal officials admit, has not lived up to the dire predictions that doomsday models had originally forecast. The vaunted Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model from the University of Washington has been notoriously wrong, predicting first anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 dead Americans, then dropping that several times in subsequent weeks down to 93,000, then 81,000, then down to 61,000."
"...when America reopens, it won't be the response to top-down orders from politicians. That's not how America works, not how the world works. If the president or governor says "open" and hospitals and funeral homes are clogged with Covid-19 critical cases and fatalities, plenty of people are going to remain in place based on the assessment that it's not worth risking death to comply with some politician's restart timeline. America is not a light switch or a sink faucet that can be turned on and off at will. As Nate Silver, who has been an admirably level-headed guide to the pandemic throughout, put it, "people will vote with their feet.""
"The best plan for reopening America is one that sticks to American values—one that emphasizes freedom, competition, choice, and diversity, not one-size-fits-all compulsion or command-and-control authoritarianism. It's a conception, outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, in which government's role is protecting natural or God-given freedoms of individuals, families, businesses and religions, rather than turning them off or on a schedule, even in the service of public health."
Snippets from the Center
"President Donald Trump said he’s prepared to announce new guidelines allowing some states to quickly ease up on social distancing even as business leaders told him they need more coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment before people can safely go back to work. The industry executives cautioned Trump that the return to normalcy will be anything but swift. The new guidelines, expected to be announced Thursday, are aimed at clearing the way for an easing of restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while keeping them in place in harder-hit places. The ultimate decisions will remain with governors."
"The new guidelines come as the federal government envisions a gradual recovery from the virus, in which disruptive mitigation measures may be needed in some places at least until a vaccine is available — a milestone unlikely to be reached until next year. Trump said at his daily briefing that data indicates the U.S. is “past the peak” of the COVID-19 epidemic, clearing the way for his plans to roll out guidelines to begin to “reopen” the country."
"Cuomo, along with many other U.S. governors, shut his state economy to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus and has warned that he is are prepared to keep businesses shut – perhaps for several months more – unless he can assure public safety. Governors from seven East Coast states formed a coalition on Monday, led by New York, to develop a joint reopening plan. Three governors from the West Coast formed a similar plan. The 10 states, mostly led by Democrats, together make up 38% of the U.S. economy."
"Trump, whose reelection bid was built on a strong economy before it was derailed by the epidemic, is losing patience with the economic blackout and has challenged governors who are preaching caution, setting the stage for larger clashes over the pace of the reopening.Trump said in late March he hoped to reopen the economy by Easter in mid-April, but the mounting toll of infections and projected deaths forced him to extend federal guidelines for 30 days to the end of April. More than 30,000 people have died in the United States from the epidemic."
"Days after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, his chief of staff got a call from an aide to Mike Pence asking if Inslee could meet with the vice president. When Inslee’s office agreed Pence would fly to his state the next day, the aide had to run because Pence was talking to reporters and wanted to announce the trip in the next 30 seconds. The eagerness of Pence, a former Indiana governor, to reach out to states' chief executives – including those who have gotten crosswise with the administration – was likewise apparent in a comment he made to Inslee. The vice president's natural kinship with governors has helped him pull off the rare feat of pleasing both his boss and those his boss has attacked."
"The vice president’s solicitousness is a stark contrast with Trump’s frequent complaints that governors should be more appreciative of what the administration is doing for them. When Inslee tweeted in March that the state and federal partnership to combat the coronavirus would be more successful “if the Trump administration stuck to the science and told the truth,” Trump called Inslee a snake who is “not a good governor.”"