As the worldwide death toll from COVID-19 reaches over 160,000 with over two million cases worldwide, many residents of U.S. cities gathered in protest of stay-at-home orders outside of statehouses in New Hampshire, Texas, and Maryland. Around 400 people gathered in Concord, NH to protest the stay-at-home orders and over 250 in Austin, TX. The common goal of these protesters: to end the stay-at-home orders affecting millions before their scheduled end date and return to normal life. The majority of attendees neither wore face coverings nor practiced social distancing while protesting.
These protests were encouraged by President Donald Trump, who has said that he favors a return to normal practices as soon as possible. Trump posted a series of tweets demanding to “LIBERATE” Michigan, Virginia, and Minnesota – all states with Democratic governors. Despite the push to return to normal conditions, the U.S. still maintains the highest number of cases in the world by a large margin at 706,000 confirmed cases.
According to federal officials, contamination at the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led to a delay in coronavirus testing. The sloppy laboratory practices caused the first tests to be ineffective. The Food and Drug Administration noted that the CDC manufactured tests were inconsistent with their own protocol, and as a result sent hundreds of tests that did not work properly.
As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared that all Florida public schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year, many local officials are discussing reopening beaches despite guidelines. Some beaches in Jacksonville have already opened as of Saturday.
Harvard researchers have found that social distancing, including stay-at-home orders and school closures, may need to be in place until 2022 if no vaccine is developed quickly or if critical care capacity is not increased. Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have also suggested that in order for the U.S. to safely reopen, the amount of testing conducted each month needs to be tripled.