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California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Carolyn Cole-Pool/Getty Images

The drumbeat to turn America's lights back on is approaching a crescendo, even as the virus is in the opening stanza.

The big picture: Preempting President Trump, two groups of states are working on regional plans to lift their lockdowns as conditions permit.

  • The eastern group: New York, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
  • The western group: California, Oregon and Washington.
  • Both groups say they'll use metrics to guide reopening, with more details expected over the coming days.

Why it matters: Trump claimed today that he is the decider on when states reopen. His tweets undermined GOP talking points and are constitutionally dubious.

  • But the underlying truth: States that are in the early stages of the outbreak are relying on his leadership to convince people to stay at home.
  • That includes major swaths of Trump country, and the president's bully pulpit could play a decisive role in ending lockdowns too soon to flatten the curve.

Between the lines: Lessons from New York, which has suffered America's worst outbreak, will form a template for rolling back restrictions in parts of the country with later projected peaks.

  • "The worst is over" in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today.
  • That could change if New Yorkers don't keep up their social distancing, he emphasized.
  • NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio noted recent declines in three key metrics: 1) positive tests; 2) patients admitted to the hospital; 3) patients admitted to the ICU.

The bottom line: More than 10,000 people have died from the coronavirus in New York alone. It's a very sad day when only 671 recorded deaths is good news.

Go deeper

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.