Several states are reopening from coronavirus shutdowns this week even as the number of people infected in the US gets closer to 1 million.
Colorado, Minnesota and Montana plan to ease social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions. And starting Monday, Iowa will reopen elective surgeries and farmers markets while Tennessee restaurants can welcome customers at 50% capacity. Retail stores may reopen on the same guidelines Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said.
Nationally, there have been 53,934 coronavirus deaths reported and more than 939,000 cases. Decisions to reopen go against a University of Washington model suggesting that no state should open their economies before May 1 -- and many should wait much longer.
But many have already started.
Hawaii has relaxed beach restrictions, opening them up for visitors to fish and exercise but maintaining restrictions on loitering, Gov. David Ige said Saturday.
Texas allowed retail stores to begin making curbside sales Friday, as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer allowed businesses like landscapers, plant nurseries and bike repair shops to reopen provided they follow social distancing. Friday was also the day Alaska allowed many salons and restaurants to open, though they can't exceed 25% capacity.
Georgia allowed some businesses to reopen with some guidelines Friday, including places where clients and workers get close: barber shops and hair salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and bowling alleys.
In Oklahoma, salons, barbershops, spas and pet groomers took appointments Friday, and some state parks and outdoor recreation areas also reopened.
Mayors call for more caution
But some mayors are not ready to transition out of coronavirus measures.
'If you're getting your nails done right now, please share these noon numbers with your manicurist #StayHomeGeorgia,' Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted Saturday, along with a graphic with the case and death counts at the time.
Nearby in the city of Brookhaven, Mayor John Ernst said he would rather nonessential businesses wait until Georgia reaches a milestone like a 14-day downward trend in cases.
'Even the (business owners) who open up say, 'I don't know if I'm doing the right thing,' Ernst said Saturday. '(Reopening) needs to be an orderly process.'
While surrounding beaches opened for the weekend, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the county would not follow suit and urged residents to stay inside.
'We can't let one weekend reverse a month of work that you have invested in,' he said.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced he is letting stay at home orders for the state expire this week, but urged residents to stay home 'as much as possible.' While the state is transitioning to looser restrictions, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told CNN's Jake Tapper that nothing is changing yet for the city.
'Stay in place and know that none of the locations that were closed during the order will open up,' Hancock said.
Fauci says testing should double
The US should double its diagnostic testing for coronavirus over the next several weeks, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said Saturday.
It's a goal he thinks the nation can reach, Fauci said.
There is more to curbing the virus than testing, he added, citing the need for identification, isolation and contact tracing.
But the nation needs to 'have enough tests to respond to the outbreaks that will inevitably occur as you try and ease your way back into the different phases.'
'We're getting better and better at it, as the weeks go by, but we are not in a situation where we say we're exactly where we want to be with regard to testing,' he said Thursday. 'I think we're going to get there, but we're not there yet.'
WHO warns recovery may not protect against 2nd infection
The US coronavirus case count may be high, but the World Health Organization warned that it is too early to tell if people who have had the virus would be immune from a second infection.
The health agency said it is reviewing evidence on antibody responses to the novel coronavirus. A Friday scientific brief says 'most' studies show that people who have 'recovered from infection have antibodies to the virus.'
But as of Friday, no study has 'evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to (the virus) confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans,' the WHO brief says.
The US Food and Drug Administration has now authorized three new coronavirus antibody tests, bringing the total number of FDA-authorized tests to seven.
The tests were approved under emergency-use authorizations, a lower regulatory standard used when the FDA believes a test's benefits could outweigh any risks.
On Saturday, the CEO of a group helping lead the vaccine effort said it might be necessary to start manufacturing coronavirus vaccines even before they have been fully tested to see if they can protect people from infection.