Apr 24, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 434 words, a 2-minute read.

⚡️U.S. coronavirus fatalities now exceed 50,000.

1 big thing: Scenes from the reopenings

Joe Farley wears a mask as he gets a haircut at the just reopened Salon À la Mode in Dallas. Photo: LM Otero/AP

Multiple states are preparing to plunge into the unknown with partial coronavirus reopenings for non-essential businesses, and Georgia and Oklahoma will lead the way.

Why it matters: We have no idea how this will go, but experts emphasize that prematurely lifting the lockdowns could create a surge in new cases.

Between the lines: Some of these states are loosening their rules for the benefit of rural areas, while letting urban mayors keep tighter rules in place.

  • Governors have watched their economies go off the cliff, with no idea of if or when the federal government will step in to help city and state governments.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp's plan allows gyms, bowling alleys, nail salons and hairdressers to open today. Movie theaters and restaurants can open on Monday.

  • "Democratic mayors in Atlanta, Savannah and Albany, which had one of the worst outbreaks in the U.S., have complained about the order itself and the fact that they didn’t know it was coming," Bloomberg reports.
  • Trump tweeted his lukewarm disapproval: "Spas, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, & barber shops should take a little slower path, but I told the Governor to do what is right for the great people of Georgia (& USA)!"

In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt authorized personal-care businesses to open, AP reports.

  • Some of the state’s largest cities, including Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, won't be lifting their bans until at least the end of the month.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is preparing to roll out partial reopenings for restaurants and hair salons.

  • “We’re gonna be making an announcement opening so many different types of businesses, where you’re gonna be able to go to a hair salon, you’re gonna be able to go to any type of retail establishment you want to go to — different things like that," he told a Lubbock radio host on Wednesday.
Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Turkey: Muezzin Davut Avci prays alone during the evening prayer in the closed Suleymaniye Mosque on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

  • Istanbul is on Day 2 of a 4-day lockdown.

Go deeper: Ramadan during the coronavirus pandemic

2. Catch up quick
  1. Federal government latest: The national deficit is forecast to increase sharply to $3.7 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year.
  2. State update: Cuomo says the WHO was "too little, too late" on coronavirus.
  3. Trump latest: Trump says comments that disinfectants could treat coronavirus were sarcastic.
  4. Business latest: Facebook launches Zoom rival — Autoworkers want more testing before reopening economy
3. 1 helpful Hanks

Not The Onion: Tom Hanks has a pen pal named Corona, an 8-year-old Australian boy who was bullied at school and called "coronavirus."

  • Corona DeVries first wrote Hanks and Rita Wilson after news they'd tested positive, CNN reports.
  • Hanks responded with a "typewritten letter and the Corona-brand typewriter he had brought with him and used in Australia," CNN notes.

Hanks signed it: "You got a friend in me!"