Ten U.S. governors on the east and west coasts banded together on Monday in two regional pacts to coordinate gradual economic reopenings as the coronavirus crisis finally appeared to be slowing down, Reuters writes.
Announcements from the New York-led group of Northeastern governors, and a similar compact formed by California, Oregon and Washington state, came as President Donald Trump declared any decision on restarting the U.S. economy was up to him.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was teaming up with five counterparts in adjacent New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island to devise the best strategies for easing stay-at-home orders imposed last month to curb coronavirus transmissions.
Massachusetts later also said it was joining the East Coast coalition.
“Nobody has been here before, nobody has all the answers,” said Cuomo, whose state has become the U.S. epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, during an open conference call with five other governors. “Addressing public health and the economy: Which one is first? They’re both first.”
The three Pacific Coast states announced they, too, planned to follow a shared approach for lifting social-distancing measures, but said they “need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening” can take place, Reuters adds.
The 10 governors, all Democrats except for Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, gave no timeline for ending social lockdowns that have idled the vast majority of more than 100 million residents in their states.
But they stressed that decisions about when and how to reopen non-essential businesses, along with schools and universities, would put the health of residents first and rely on science rather than politics.
The announcements came as signs emerged that the crisis had peaked. At least 1,500 new U.S. fatalities were reported on Monday, below last week’s running tally of roughly 2,000 deaths every 24 hours. Likewise, the number of additional confirmed cases counted on Monday, about 23,000, was well below last week’s trend of 30,000 to 50,000 new cases a day.