May 14, 2020 - Health

CDC posts revised reopening guidelines after White House intervention

CDC director Robert Redfield. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted six new one-page tools on Thursday that advise businesses, restaurants and bars, schools, camps, child care centers and mass transit systems on how to safely reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The White House coronavirus task force asked the CDC to revise a more extensive set of guidelines that the agency had prepared more than a month ago, believing it was "overly prescriptive," an administration official told Axios' Alayna Treene.

Early versions of the documents included detailed guidance for churches and religious institutions, which the White House requested to be taken out, according to AP.

  • The episode underscores the political sensitivity of President Trump's push to reopen the country, which comes amid warnings from some health officials that opening up too soon could cause a resurgence in cases.
  • Anthony Fauci, a key member of the task force, testified Wednesday that the "consequences could be really serious" for states and cities that reopen without meeting federal guidelines.

The big picture: An administration official told Axios that President Trump's guidelines for reopening, which were released last month, "made clear that each state should open up in a safe and responsible way based on the data and response efforts in those individual states."

  • "Guidance in rural Tennessee shouldn’t be the same guidance for urban New York City," the official said.

Go deeper: White House coronavirus task force asked CDC to revise reopening guidelines

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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%.

CDC issues guidelines for reopening offices: Masks, handshake bans and more

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines on Wednesday detailing how office buildings can reopen following months of social distancing amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

What they're saying: The guidance outlines steps for employers to ensure they "create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients." The CDC urged caution and careful planning before bringing workers back to office buildings.

Mitch McConnell: There's no stigma attached to wearing a mask

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell puts on a mask after speaking to the press on Capitol Hill on May 19. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday encouraged people to wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic, hours before the U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpassed 100,000, per Politico.

Why it matters: President Trump has been resisted wearing face coverings in public and ridiculed Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden for doing so this week. But McConnell reportedly sided with CDC guidelines during a Kentucky event to deliver his message to young people. "There's no stigma attached to wearing a mask," he said, per Politico. "There’s no stigma attached to staying six feet apart." McConnell has also taken to posting images to Instagram in recent days of himself wearing a mask.

Go deeper: CDC issues guidelines for reopening offices: Masks, handshake bans and more

13 hours ago - Politics & Policy