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

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases across the country increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 22, 2020 - World

South Korea reenters lockdown after spike in coronavirus infections

A coronavirus test being done in Seoul. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

South Korea is shuttering nightclubs and churches and cancelling professional sports and large social gatherings after an uptick in COVID-19 infections, AP reports.

The state of play: Health Minister Park Neung-hoo enacted the new rules on Saturday after 332 new cases were confirmed. To date, South Korea has seen 17,002 confirmed coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins University. Most of the outbreak is centralized in Seoul, but it is spreading to major cities throughout the country. South Korea has consistently been one of the strictest countries on COVID-19 precautions.

  • Seoul was placed under stricter lockdown rules earlier this week.