Protesters call for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to reopen the state on May 12. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Protests continued on Thursday against Michigan's stay-at-home order, alongside similar protests in suburban New York and Washington, D.C. Other demonstrations were held this week in North Carolina and Rhode Island.

Why it matters: Leading coronavirus modeling shows the country's collective sacrifice of an economic shutdown — which has resulted in over 30 million jobless claims — has likely prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths, serving as a sign that social distancing is effective.

The big picture: Protests to reopen economies have been held across the U.S. over the last few months as the number of coronavirus cases and fatalities continues to rise. COVID-19 has infected more than 1.4 million people and killed over 85,000 in the U.S., per Johns Hopkins data.

What they're saying: President Trump fueled reopening protests in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia on April 17 in tweets, urging people to "LIBERATE" the states.

  • He defended activists again at an April 19 news briefing, saying they "have got cabin fever" from having their lives "taken away from them." But in a rare rebuke of a Republican, Trump said he "strongly" disagrees with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's plans to reopen non-essential businesses.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned after protests in Albany there could be a potential "second wave" if restrictions were eased too soon and suggested people who want to work "get a job as an essential worker."

Of note: Facebook said Monday the company deleted events for anti-quarantine protests in Nebraska, New Jersey and California that defied government guidelines.

The bottom line: The U.S. cannot afford to stay on lockdown until a cure or vaccine arrives. Safely reopening communities and economies requires data that is currently difficult to find.

Armed demonstrators in Lansing, Michigan on May 14. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images
Members of the media outnumber demonstrators at the ReOpen DC rally on May 14. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Protesters call for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to reopen the state on May 12. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber on April 30. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images
Armed protesters at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on April 30. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters from a grassroots organization called Reopen N.C. gather to pressure North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to reopen the state on April 28. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Protestors outside the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on April 25 in Baton Rouge. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Protestors outside the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida on April 25. Photo: Adam DelGiudice/AFP via Getty Images
Protestors outside the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida on April 25. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Protestors outside the Texas State Capitol on April 25. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images
Protestors outside the Texas State Capitol on April 25. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images
Protestors outside the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on April 25 in Baton Rouge. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Protestors outside the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on April 25 in Baton Rouge. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Demonstrators gather in front of the Colorado State Capitol building for a "reopen Colorado" rally on April 19. Photo: Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators hold signs outside of the New York State Capitol Building on April 22 in Albany, New York. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
People take part in a "reopen" Pennsylvania demonstration in Harrisburg on April 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
Some 2,500 people demonstrate outside the state Capitol to speak out against against Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-at-home order on April 19. Photo: Alex Milan Tracy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Protesters gather outside the Indiana governor's mansion. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to re-open the state for business. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
Jessica Lilly, right, with her children aged 7 and 4, join a crowd gathered at the corner of Main Street and Walnut Avenue in Huntington Beach, Calif., to protest state closures on April 17. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Sarah Mason joins a crowd at Huntington Beach, Calif., to protest state closures on April 17. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Police officers watch the crowd at Huntington Beach, Calif. as they protest state closures on April 17. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Protestors in Huntington Beach, Calif. protest state closures on April 17. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Protesters yell in unison when Infowars' Alex Jones arrives for an April 18 protest at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images
A protestor in Austin, Texas on April 18. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images
Protesters at the Texas State Capital on April 18 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images
Hundreds of New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to re-open the state. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
Hundreds of New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to reopen the state. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
Hundreds of New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to re-open the state. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters outside the Orange County Administration Building demanding the end of stay-at-home orders and the reopening of Florida businesses on April 17. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
A "Reopen Maryland" rally outside the State House in Annapolis, Maryland on April 18. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper: Michigan protesters rally over Gov. Whitmer's stay-at-home order

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that more than 61,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus (not 217,000).

Go deeper

Aug 7, 2020 - Health

Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Cuomo on July 23 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all school districts across the state can choose to reopen for in-person learning because it has so far maintained low enough coronavirus transmission rates.

Why it matters: It’s another sign that the state, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, has — at least for now — successfully curbed the spread of the virus even as infections have surged elsewhere around the country.

Aug 7, 2020 - Health

Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases

Gov. Charlie Baker at Boston MedFlight Headquarters on Aug. 4. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday that the state's second phase of reopening is "postponed indefinitely" in response to a modest increase in coronavirus cases.

The big picture: The state is reporting more COVID-19 deaths than most others across the U.S. outside of domestic epicenters like California, or previous hotspots including New Jersey and New York, per a New York Times database.

Updated 8 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Australian officials in Victoria announced Sunday 17 more deaths from COVID-19 — a new state and national record.

The big picture: Australia was on track to suppress the novel coronavirus in May, but cases have been spiking in Victoria in recent weeks, where a state of disaster was declared last week, enabling officials to introduce restrictions including a night-time curfew in state capital Melbourne.