Updated Apr 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Northeastern states form council for reopening economies amid coronavirus

Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that his state, along with the governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware, will form a regional task force to guide the easing of coronavirus restrictions. Massachusetts joined the group later on Monday as well.

Why it matters: Widespread shutdowns of nonessential businesses have caused significant economic damage not just in New York, an epicenter of the crisis in the U.S., but also in the surrounding states that rely on New York City as a business hub.

  • Governors will name a public health official, an economic official and their respective chief of staff to the task force, which will look to provide recommendations in a matter of weeks.

The big picture: California, Oregon and Washington announced a similar plan to move jointly toward reopening their economies on Monday. It comes as President Trump insisted on Twitter Monday that he, not governors, has the authority to reopen state economies.

What they're saying: "We should start looking forward to reopening, but reopening with a plan and a smart plan, because if you do it wrong, it can backfire," Cuomo said at a press conference Monday.

  • "Our economies are connected," said Delaware Gov. John Carney. "Our states are connected in a real way, in terms of transportation and visitation and the rest. And so our working together, sharing our information and intelligence, I think will help each of us to make better decisions,"
  • "We have not yet plateaued. We're a couple of beats behind New York. Our positive tests have begun to flatten, but we're not yet there," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
  • But Murphy added: "An economic recovery only occurs on the back of a complete health care recovery, and that order is essential and getting that wrong ... could have inadvertent unintended consequences which could be grave."

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Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

Why it matters: The autopsy contradicts preliminary findings from the Hennepin County medical examiner, who found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation,” according to charging documents against Chauvin. The official examination is still ongoing.

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The latest: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing Monday that Trump's call for law enforcement to "dominate" protesters referred to "dominating the streets" with a robust National Guard presence in order to maintain the peace.

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President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Monday about Trump's plans to expand September's G7 meeting in Washington to include Russia, according to the Russian government's readout of the call.

The big picture: The phone call between the two leaders, which the Kremlin says was initiated by Trump, comes amid six consecutive days of mass unrest in the U.S. over police brutality and racial inequality. The White House confirmed the call took place and said a readout was forthcoming.