May 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

CDC reopening document offers detailed guidelines for states and cities

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC Director Robert Redfield and President Trump on April 22. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The CDC created detailed guidance on when and how to ease local coronavirus lockdown restrictions that includes a warning of future flareups, according to a document obtained by the AP.

Why it matters: The CDC's 63-page plan, which was part of the guidance previously shelved by the White House, provides more specific instructions for state and local governments than the Trump administration's "Opening Up America Again" plan, which ultimately delegated reopening decisions to local officials.

  • The new document published by the AP is a more in-depth version of the agency's guidance for communities than its 17-page report on business reopenings that the outlet obtained last week.
  • The White House said then that it had asked for revisions and that the guidance had not been cleared by CDC officials, though this was later contradicted by emails showing that CDC Director Robert Redfield had signed off on it.
  • The AP notes that some parts of the CDC guidance had been revived by the White House after its reporting on the issue — and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed last week that the guidelines were still going through an editing process.

The state of play: The CDC and White House documents disagree on when communities should resume nonessential travel.

  • The CDC guidance advises communities to avoid all nonessential travel until cases reach the lowest levels, while the White House says it can resume after 28 consecutive days of declining cases.
  • The CDC's document also recognizes that coronavirus cases are likely to spike as economic reopenings take place, advising local governments to monitor their status closely.
  • And the CDC notes that a national approach to reopen — rather than patchwork decisions — should be undertaken, given that travel between areas can increase the likelihood of community spread.

What's next: Redfield, testifying before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday, said the edited recommendations would be released "soon" — but gave no further details.

Read the 63-page CDC guidance.

Read the White House's "Opening Up America Again" plan.

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