More than half of the country goes into first weekend with loosened coronavirus restrictions


That might mean going to a movie in Georgia, working out with a personal trainer in Colorado or dropping by a dispensary in Nevada.

And more measures will be wiped out starting Monday. Gyms and fitness centers will reopen in Arkansas on May 4 while hair salons will follow May 6. In Northern California’s Yuba and Sutter counties, restaurants, tattoo parlors and shopping malls will all be allowed to open Monday which will also be the first workday for many offices in Colorado, with operations limited to 50% capacity.

In Montana, bars and breweries will also be allowed to provide some in-establishment services starting Monday.

The changes come even as experts warned Friday that prematurely lifting measures could be deadly.

“You’re making a big mistake. It’s going to cost lives,” Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster preparedness specialist at Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN Friday.

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In a report, Redlener and Joseph Fair, a senior fellow in pandemic policy at Texas A&M University, said no city or state should begin to reduce restrictions until coronavirus infections have been steadily decreasing for 10 days to two weeks, and not until enough tests are available to track just how many people really are infected.

“We implore you to do everything in your power to make sure we have the testing and contact tracing we need to move forward safely. Until we get there, it is inappropriate and dangerous to reopen local businesses,” Redlener wrote in a letter accompanying the report.

But the country continues to lag behind in testing and months since the beginning of the outbreak is still unable to perform the millions of tests that economists and public heath experts said last month will be required before measures can be safely lifted.

CDC: Summer will be critical in fight against virus

How the country fares in the next few months will be “critical” in the fight against coronavirus and how it will evolve in the fall, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

“The more we intensify the testing and expand the public health capacity and assure that our hospital capacity and material to support the hospitals is adequate or has excess, the better we’re going to be in the fall,” Schuchat said in an interview with JAMA Network.

44 states have ordered or recommended that schools don't reopen this academic year
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, this week said he believes a second round of the virus is “inevitable” and how deadly that round is will be determined by how prepared the US is.

“If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well,” he said. “If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.”

Fauci has also warned that lifting measures prematurely could lead to a rebound of the virus that could put the US in the “same boat that we were a few weeks ago.”

Protest over orders leads to more than two dozen arrests

Many governors have faced resistance in the recent weeks from residents who want lockdown measures lifted and businesses reopened.

In California, more than 30 people were arrested Friday during a demonstration at the state capitol building to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, CNN affiliate KCRA reported.

California governor says he's 'days away' from lifting some stay-at-home restrictions

More than 1,000 people had gathered, some waving American flags and signs against the order.

“This disease doesn’t know if you’re a protester, a Democrat, a Republican,” the governor said Friday. “Protect yourself, protect your family, your kids, your parents, your grandparents, your neighbors.”

“I appreciate expression, points of view,” Newsom said, “but we’re interested in evidence, and the evidence shows some good things, but some yellow flags of caution.”

Newsom said the state is “days, not weeks” away from beginning to lift restrictions.

Large crowds in Huntington Beach protest beach closures by California governor

“I just want folks to know that we are getting very close to making really meaningful augmentations to that stay-at-home order,” the governor said in his daily coronavirus briefing.

Up to 3,000 people also gathered in Huntington Beach Friday to protest Newsom’s order this week to close all Orange County beaches.

The governor issued the order after scolding beachgoers that packed some shores in the state during scorching temperatures last weekend.

FDA approves remdesivir

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the experimental drug remdesivir as treatment for hospitalized patients with severe coronavirus, the agency said Friday.
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This is the first authorized therapy for the virus in the country, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said.

“This is an important clinical advance that showed a statistically significant reduction in time to recovery for patients with Covid-19 and is the first authorized therapy for Covid-19.” Hahn said.

The drug was approved just days after researchers said it might help patients recover more quickly from the infection.

In an emergency-use authorization Friday, the agency said the benefits of using the drug outweighed the risks.

Here’s what else happened this week:

CNN’s Jennifer Henderson, Maggie Fox, Gisela Crespo, Sarah Moon, Arman Azad and Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.



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