Texas said on Tuesday that it will raise requirements for masks and will allow businesses to reopen completely. This is the broadest step in any state to remove coronavirus restrictions, as Americans across the country are eager to isolate in a pandemic year Appeared later.
With 29 million residents in Texas, this move is much further than similar actions in other states and cities, which are scrambling to relax restrictions.
Governor Greg Abbott said: “It’s time to open 100% of the time to Texas, adding that “Covid has not suddenly disappeared” but no longer A mandatory order from the state government is required.
Across the country, governors and mayors are calibrating what is feasible, safe, and politically feasible.
In Chicago, thousands of children returned to public schools this week, and the city’s snow-covered parks and playgrounds that had been closed since March last year also opened. Mississippi also ended the mask mission. Massachusetts restaurants are allowed to be free from capacity restrictions, while South Carolina has lifted restrictions on large gatherings. San Francisco announced that indoor dining, museums, cinemas and stadiums can be reopened on a limited basis.
But federal health officials worry that the pace of state and local leaders may be too fast.
“I know people are tired; they want to return to normal lives,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Monday. “But we are not there yet.”
Different guidelines put many Americans in trouble: wondering whether to follow the temptation of optimism, such as some officials in California, Michigan, and North Carolina, to support the widespread reopening of businesses and schools, or to watch out for their long-term response to the virus and flu Troubled. Federal health officials warn that it is too early to remove too many restrictions.
Kitty Sherry, 36, sent her son Jude to Chicago Elementary School this week. For the first time in nearly a year, she felt she was in the middle ground between elation and worry.
Ms. Sherry said: “Some of me are very excited about his return to school,” but she said that she is worried about the health risks of teachers and that due to the pandemic, her family is still avoiding restaurants and other indoor places. . She said: “It’s not over yet.” “So there is not much celebration.”
Government officials sent mixed, usually cautious messages to the public. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser on Covid-19, said this week that for a small group of people who have been fully vaccinated, there is little risk of gathering at home. He said that activities beyond this range will depend on data, models and “good clinical common sense”, adding that the CDC will soon provide guidance on what vaccinated people can do safely.
The information that many Americans have heard from elected officials, including the leaders of both sides, is gratifying.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on Tuesday that she is relaxing restrictions on businesses and allowing family members who have tested negative for the coronavirus to visit nursing home residents. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said that although residents should continue to wear masks in public places, it is time to relax restrictions on businesses.
In Kentucky, with the exception of a few school districts, all schools now offer face-to-face courses, and states are racing to vaccinate teachers as soon as possible. Governor Andy Beshear told reporters last week that the state’s declining infection statistics indicate that immunization has begun to have an impact.
He said: “This means that the vaccination is effective.” “We have seen it. We have seen it in these numbers. This is a very positive sign.”
In Texas, Governor Abbott (Abbott) lifted the restrictions effective March 10. Some Democrats strongly criticized this idea, saying it shows that the state’s progress on the coronavirus is more optimistic than it actually is.
There are reasons for optimism: vaccination has increased significantly in recent weeks, and daily reports of new coronavirus cases across the country have declined since the peak in January.
Positive signs carry warnings. Although national statistics have improved greatly since January, they have been stable for the past week or so. According to New York data, the United States still reports an average of more than 65,000 new cases per day, which is on par with the peak last summer. Times database. On average, more than 2,000 people die in the country every day, although death is a lagging indicator because it may take several weeks to die after being infected by the coronavirus.
New, more contagious variants of the virus are circulating in the country and are likely to increase the number of cases again. Detections have fallen by 30% in recent weeks, and experts are worried about how quickly new outbreaks will be known. Millions of Americans are still waiting to be vaccinated-including workers in restaurants, which are now open in large numbers across the country.
In states such as Florida and South Dakota, schools and businesses have been widely opened for several months, and since last summer, many local and state officials across the country have been relaxing restrictions. Nevertheless, the pace of reopening has been greatly accelerated in recent days.
Robert Horsburgh, an epidemiologist at the Boston University School of Public Health, said: “The hope is between the last wave of my hopes and the beginning of the period when I hope Covid will become very rare.” “But we don’t know. I have been advocating that we stay on for another four to six weeks.”
Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins University Health and Safety Center, said there are signs that the country may be experiencing the worst pandemic. But she still worried that the country was too hasty to reopen, repeating the mistakes made in the early stages of the pandemic, when the rules were relaxed at that time, and then a new peak appeared.
Dr. Nuzzo said: “Rather than opening some low-risk things, just to make sure it doesn’t change the numbers, it’s just opening the floodgates.”
Most schools across the country are open to students, at least in part, and there is evidence that they are relatively safe to do so. However, due to outbreaks in communities where other types of restrictions are still being lifted, the reopening of schools in some areas has been repeatedly delayed.
“My son is scheduled to participate in blended learning for the first time after this weekend,” said Dr. Nuzzo, who lives in Maryland. “At the same time, the restaurant restrictions were lifted and the cinema was back. It felt like, at least let him enter the classroom first.”
In South Carolina, officials this week cancelled a rule that required restaurants to close by 11pm. In North Carolina, bars have been allowed to open indoor stores with a limited capacity since the past weekend, this is the first time since March last year.
The closure last year forced 38-year-old Zack Medford to suddenly close five bars he owned in North Carolina, lay off 80 employees and apply for unemployment benefits. After vacant rent, he had to give up two bars because they owed rent.
But on Wednesday, New York State announced that the bar could open at 30% of its indoor capacity on Friday. After receiving a two-day reopening notice, he called the old employees who were eager to return to work and replenish the inventory. Then on Friday, he opened the door to welcome an old customer who hadn’t seen him in a year to have a drink at the bar.
Mr. Medford, who is also the chairman of the State Bar and Bistro Association, said: “It’s exciting to see this happen.” “This is indeed the first time I got out of bed in a year and I’m very excited. There are things to look forward to.”
After some counties in Washington state allowed movie theaters to reopen, 36-year-old Nick Butcher participated in the screening of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy for three consecutive nights, making up for the lost time. He bought M&M at the concession booth and distanced himself from other audiences, saying that he felt as if everything was back to normal.
Mr. Butcher, a software engineer at Microsoft, said: “In general, I have actually become optimistic.” Mr. Butcher and several relatives have recently recovered from the Covid-19 case. “This week is my first time in the office since the pandemic began.”
After returning to crowded offices and schools, other Americans were very happy.
Amanda Sewell, a teacher at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky, will welcome students to her classroom for the first time in the year next Monday. The decorations from last year’s carnival celebration are still hanging in the classroom. The date on her whiteboard is still March 13, 2020, the day the school closes and goes home. She feels that there are only a few weeks before she and her students return to the classroom.
Ms. Sewell has now been fully vaccinated against the virus and said that she is happy to see her students in person after months of teaching on the non-responsive square on Zoom. But she knew that things would not be the same as before.
Ms. Seville said: “I’m still a little uneasy because some people feel uncomfortable because we have a vaccine that the pandemic is over and did not happen,” Ms. Seville said. “I think we are still a few months away from our normal position.”
Dave Montgomery contributed the report.