May 22, 2020 - Health

Fauci on states reopening: "Be on the alert" for small coronavirus spikes

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci advised states that are reopening "to be on the alert" for "little blips" of infections as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted across the U.S., at a CNN coronavirus town hall on Thursday.

Why it matters: Nearly every state in the U.S. has taken steps to reopen certain regions and industries that are seen as "low-risk" for spreading the virus, per a New York Times analysis.

What he's saying: "And that's the reason why you see the reopening, that we tell the cities, the locations, the communities to be on the alert for what I refer to as the little blips that you might see. Because as you open up, even under normal circumstances, in the best of circumstances, you are going to see infections. The critical issue for a successful opening is how effectively you address those blips," Fauci said.

  • "Do you have in place the capability, the testing, and the manpower to identify, to isolate, and to contact trace. If you do, you'll be able to prevent those blips from becoming resurgence and you'll be able to progress along the various phases of reopening," he said.

Go deeper: CDC releases detailed 60-page road map on reopening

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

About 40.7 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic began, including 2.1 million more claims filed from last week.

Why it matters: Even as states reopen their economies, Americans are still seeking relief. Revised data out Thursday also showed U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimate of 4.8%.

Coronavirus still has a foothold in the South

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Overall, new coronavirus infections in the U.S. are on the decline. But a small handful of states, mainly clustered in the South, aren't seeing any improvement.

The big picture: Our progress, nationwide, is of course good news. But it's fragile progress, and it’s not universal. Stubborn pockets of infection put lives at risk, and they can spread, especially as state lockdowns continue to ease.

Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Live music was an early casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, and independent venues across the country are especially at risk as the crisis drags on.

Why it matters: These venues are accessible cultural spaces and key economic drivers, and no one in the industry, from bands to bookers to bartenders, knows when things will return to normal.