Most of U.S. still wary of COVID-19 risks despite steps to reopen

May 6, 2020

A new poll from the Washington Post–University of Maryland shows most Americans are still too hesitant about the novel coronavirus to eat in restaurants or shop in stores.

Of those polled, 67 percent said they would be uncomfortable going to a retail store, and 78 percent say they would be uncomfortable in a sit-down restaurant. Fifty-six percent of participants, however, said they were comfortable going to a grocery store. Gyms and movie theaters ranked high on the list of businesses Americans say are not safe to reopen.

Surprisingly, opposition to opening is equally high in states that have and have not lifted stay-at-home orders in recent days.

The Washington Post said not much has changed when it came to Americans' fear of contracting COVID-19. As was the case two weeks ago, 63 percent of Americans say they are either very or somewhat worried about getting the virus and becoming seriously ill, with 36 percent saying they are either not too worried or not at all worried.

Though half of all 50 states have started opening businesses in some capacity, some are more open than others. WalletHub ranked the 50 states from "most open" to "least open" in an effort to see how stay-at-home mandates were still at play, and where they had expired. South Dakota, Utah, North Dakota, Missouri, and Idaho were ranked the most "open" states, with few limits on businesses. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Hawaii are the least open states, as is Washington, DC, and these localities have extended stay-at-home orders through most of May.

As of May 5, the United States has over 1,200,000 COVID-19 cases, and more than 71,000 fatalities, according to the tracker maintained by the New York Times. The country has been averaging between 2,000 and 2,500 deaths per day in May, and more than 1,000 deaths per day since April 1. Nearly 25,000 new cases are confirmed each day, representing a growth of between 2 percent to 4 percent daily.

Since leaked documents showed that the U.S. daily death toll from COVID-19 will likely climb throughout May, reaching 3,000 deaths per day by June 1, more states are grappling with how to maintain a fight against the virus until a vaccine is made available.

A new document published from experts at Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security offers a plan for expanding and adapting the U.S. healthcare system for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among top recommendations is the creation of a national database that would help health systems access personal protective equipment (PPE) during a cluster of COVID-19 activity from states not currently seeing an increase in cases.

"Once the crisis phase of the pandemic is over, entities at every level should conduct a high-level mapping of the depth of their PPE supply chain. Often, visibility of the entire supply chain system is quite limited, and a careful review of the entire system is the first step toward strengthening our supply chain capabilities," the report said.

Other areas the report addresses are resuming deferred healthcare services, financial support for healthcare providers, sustaining the healthcare workforce, mental health support for health workers, medical care and sick leave for all Americans and telemedicine.

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