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There’s a Covid-19 rebellion brewing in Pennsylvania, where counties led by Republicans and some businesses have said they’ll defy Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s restrictive orders.
Wolf has said he’ll withhold stimulus funding from those counties if they ignore his orders. He’s taken a tiered strategy to reopening the state and moved scores of counties to a new, more open “yellow” phase. Some of those still on “red” don’t want to wait for the state anymore.
President Donald Trump, naturally, cheered on the counties on Twitter on Monday, and accused Democrats of trying to slow-walk the opening to hurt him in November. (For Trump, it’s always about Trump, even if it’s actually about public safety.)
The President’s tweet:
“The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails. The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly!
Wolf later tweeted:
“The politicians who are encouraging us to quit the fight are acting in a most cowardly way.”
Read Wolf’s full thread/threat here.
It’s the opposite in South Dakota – Republican Gov. Kristi Noem is fighting with Native American tribes that want more restrictions, in part because they don’t have easy access to health care. They’ve erected checkpoints to keep people out.
CNN’s Sara Sidner is there. Read her story.
In the impossible debate over when and how to open back up continues everywhere.
States are splitting from individual counties and towns.
Some businesses that can open up are not.
Other businesses that have opened are closing back down.
And many that cannot open are wondering how long they’ll survive.
The federal government is taking very little action at all as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidelines, still under review from the White House, remain unreleased.
Where does your state stand? Click here.
Town literally split – In Bristol the border between Virginia and Tennessee runs down the middle of State Street – it has always been split in two. But now the divide is much more meaningful. Tennessee’s Republican governor lifted many restrictions. Virginia’s Democratic governor has not.
So CNN’s Natasha Chen found Delta Blues BBQ open for dine-in in Tennessee. Across the street, the Burger Bar can still only do curbside pickup or delivery. More here.
Calls for a regional approach – And even as Virginia moves toward easing restrictions, Chen notes more populous Northern Virginia local governments have asked him to do it regionally.
Bristol might be ready. Arlington and Alexandria and Fairfax County, urban hotspots, aren’t there yet. That pattern repeats all over the US.
Working together out West – California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the five states in the western pact – California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington – are asking the federal government for $1 trillion in aid to prevent drastic budget cuts.
Asterisk in Florida – Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has made a big deal about opening his state and the low numbers there are encouraging even as they are scrutinized (Florida does not include likely coronavirus cases in its death toll as many other states do).
Large counties still closed – Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward, which account for nearly a third of the state’s population, have not followed suit and will stay relatively closed until at least May 15.
Who is Ron DeSantis? There’s a very good profile of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in The Washington Post. It includes some great comparisons of DeSantis to Trump and also some of his personal affectations, which include hair twirling.
Frustration in Georgia – There’s clear frustration between Atlanta’s mayor, who supports continued distance mandates, and the state’s Republican governor, who opened the state up.
Complicating all of this is that even after opening, we won’t know for several weeks if it leads to new or increased outbreaks. That data should start to come out of Georgia, where some restaurants began opening April 27, soon. Many restaurants have stayed closed.
Open and shut – Read about a Massachusetts ice cream parlor that opened and then closed after customers failed to follow social distance guidelines.
“One of my best workers quit yesterday at the end of her shift. She stuck it through her shift,” owner Mark Lawrence told CNN affiliate WFXT. “But the words she was called and the language, you wouldn’t even say in a men’s locker room. And to say it to a 17-year-old kid, they should be ashamed of themselves.”
Tesla has sued Alameda County in California over the closure of its Fremont factory.
Elon Musk has emerged as a prominent shutdown critic and pusher of debunked coronavirus claims on his Twitter feed. He also promised to make ventilators that never showed up.
No one knows how it got into the White House
This is a real-life example of why contact tracing can be so hard.
The White House still doesn’t know how Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, got Covid-19. They also don’t know how the President’s valet who tested positive got the disease.
No clear plan to deal with it – Read this from CNN’s Kaitlin Collins and Kevin Liptak: One official said it wasn’t certain which colleagues would stay home. Some officials who had extended contact with Miller announced they would self-quarantine, while others who had similar contact with her did not.
Trip canceled – Pence, for instance, is not quarantining. A weekend trip to Camp David was scrapped in part due to concerns about coronavirus. Pence and Trump were both there last weekend. And so was Miller.
Trump is frustrated – “In conversations this weekend, Trump has expressed concern that aides contracting coronavirus would undercut his message that the outbreak is waning and states should begin reopening, according to a person who spoke with him.”
Why reopening won’t fix everything
Andrew Yang, the former Democratic presidential candidate and pusher of a universal basic income, was interviewed by Joe Biden on a campaign podcast released Monday and he shared his concern that the economy won’t just bounce back in part because companies won’t be fast enough about rehiring workers.
They’re actually not that interested in hiring workers at all, argued Yang, who’s also a CNN commentator. This is an interesting point:
“Investors aren’t investing in job growth, they’re investing in bottom line profitability of the firms, and the tough truth is that a lot of these firms can operate more efficiently and more profitably with fewer people.
“I’m privy to the thinking of many major company CEOs and they are telling people confidentially that they’re not going to hire back a lot of the people that they furloughed or let go.
“This economy is not going to snap back into place like a rubber band in part because that relationship that you described, that if businesses do well then workers will benefit, that bargain has broken down and now it barely exists.”