Some states engaged in reopening their economies have not yet seen coronavirus outbreaks feared by health officials.
In particular, Georgia and Florida, which were projected to see a sharp rise in new cases, have not experienced major new outbreaks in the past week. The average number of new daily cases in Florida declined by 14 percent over the past week, and Georgia’s average new daily cases dropped by 12 percent during the same time period, according to an analysis by Axios.
The data on new cases is imperfect because of variations between states in the amount and frequency of coronavirus testing. As of Wednesday, Florida has confirmed almost 42,000 coronavirus cases, while Georgia has confirmed 35,000 cases.
“Cases [in the U.S.] still continue to expand, and some of that is [due to] the fact that we’re testing more,” former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday on NBC’s The Today Show. Gottlieb cautioned that “this is an epidemic that hasn’t run its course nationally, and hasn’t really started to show sustained declines outside of the New York region.”
Florida governor Ron Desantis has stated that fears of an impending disaster in his state were overblown.
“There’s been a lot that’s been done to try to promote fear, to promote worst-case scenarios, to drive hysteria,” DeSantis said in late April. “People should know that worst-case scenario thinking — that has not proven to be true [in Florida].”
The state is currently in its second week of a phased reopening. Businesses including nail salons, hair salons, and barbershops were allowed to open on Monday, and beaches across much of the state were opened over the weekend.
Georgia has allowed businesses such as restaurants and gyms to reopen with heavy restrictions, including limiting restaurants to 10 patrons per 300 square meters.