Updated Mar 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

America's incomplete coronavirus shutdown

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

If President Trump follows through on his statements that he wants to "open" the U.S. up again, an already patchwork shield of state "stay at home" orders could look like even more of a patchwork.

The big picture: As of Wednesday night, just 21 states have ordered people to stay at home, and most of those are states with Democratic governors. Only six — Ohio, Indiana, Idaho, West Virginia, Massachusetts and Vermont — have Republican governors.

  • If Trump declares it's time to start getting back to normal, those GOP governors could face pressure to start easing their own social restrictions, too.
  • That doesn't mean they'll do it, but the political pressure will intensify every time Trump talks about the importance of restarting the economy. And it could become even less likely that other Republican governors will impose stay-at-home orders of their own.

Between the lines: Some Republican governors, like Greg Abbott of Texas, have resisted calls to issue statewide stay-at-home orders, leaving it to cities and counties to issue their own restrictions.

  • Not all Democratic governors have ordered statewide restrictions, either. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, for example, issued a stay-at-home order for people in the hardest-hit areas, but not for the whole state.
  • There are 26 Republican governors and 24 Democratic governors — and seven Republicans are up for re-election, compared to four Democrats.

The bottom line: The "mitigation strategy" of social distancing urged by health experts has been uneven throughout the U.S. — and it's likely to get more uneven.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that Massachusetts has a Republican governor, not a Democratic governor.

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Alaska becomes latest state to issue coronavirus stay-at-home order

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alaska issued a mandate Friday evening for all people in the state to "remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing" except for those engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions, effective Saturday at 5 p.m.

The big picture: This is the latest state to announce policies to enforce social distancing. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide were asked to stay home Monday.

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Biden blasts Trump's coronavirus response: "This is not personal"

Former Vice President Joe Biden said that President Trump should "stop personalizing everything" in his approach to dealing the novel coronavirus pandemic, at a CNN town hall on Friday.

Driving the news: "If they don't treat you right, I don't call," Trump told reporters at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Friday, referring to managing COVID-19. Trump said Vice President Mike Pence "calls all the governors," but he advises Pence against contacting those he views as unappreciative.

Mississippi governor says state won't be a dictatorship on coronavirus

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves speaks to the press in Tupelo, Mississippi. Photo: Rory Doyle for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said in a Twitter post Wednesday that he rejects "dictatorship models like China," a day after he signed an executive order in response to the novel coronavirus.

Details: Reeves' order Tuesday aims to limit people's physical interactions, but the Jackson Free Press notes it "seems to declare that most types of businesses in Mississippi are 'essential' and thus exempt from social-distancing requirements," including public and private industries and institutions. The move caused confusion as to whether it overrides stay-at-home orders issued by local authorities, Mississippi Today reports.

Go deeperArrowMar 26, 2020 - Health