A version of this story appeared in the May 29 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.
The risks of reopening the economy too soon have been outlined by scientists in stark terms. Without taking proper precautions to keep the coronavirus in check, returning to normal life could trigger new outbreaks that swiftly spiral out of control, experts have warned.
But, as the pandemic continues to race around the world, finding new footholds in Latin America, the real challenges of lifting lockdowns are only just beginning to come into focus.
South Korea, which has been held up as a shining example of how to handle the virus, offers a glimpse of what it looks like when the virus starts to resurge. Authorities in the capital, Seoul, have had to reverse a reopening of schools, museums, theaters and parks, rushing to contain a rebound in cases.
Restrictions are easing even in countries where infection rates are still on the rise — like Brazil and the Philippines — raising fears that officials are playing Russian roulette with people’s lives.
Sao Paulo, home to Brazil’s biggest financial hub, will allow businesses to resume, despite a new record number of cases reported nationwide. The Philippines is also opening back up, with residents in the capital, Manila, enjoying free movement, amid the biggest daily spike in cases since the pandemic began.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: What will a return to work look like?
A: Temperature checks upon arrival, desks spaced six feet apart, face coverings worn at all times, transparent shields around workspaces and communal seating areas cordoned off. These are just some of the new guidelines released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help employers keep workers safe when they return to the office. If followed, the recommendations will drastically change how America goes to work — altering everything from commuting to collaboration. You can read the advice here.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
Ready or not, the world is reopening
Countries around the world are starting to reopen, albeit with new guidelines. The UK, Turkey and Spain will further lift restrictions on Monday. France will gradually reopen parks, beaches, lakes, cultural venues, restaurants and bars in the coming week. Jordan is reopening houses of worship next Friday. In Germany’s capital Berlin, pubs and fitness studios are reopening. And in Tokyo, Japan, schools, tutoring centers, gyms, theaters, malls and other non-essential retail locations will come online on Monday.
But that doesn’t mean everyone is ready. In the UK, a chunk of the public is staying home despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently easing lockdown restrictions, according to a new study by King’s College London. One in seven adults surveyed did not leave their home once in the previous week.
Trump’s coronavirus task force ‘sidelined’
The White House coronavirus task force met yesterday for the first time in a week. As the American death count from coronavirus ticks above 100,000, the panel assembled by President Donald Trump to confront the pandemic has been sharply curtailed while the administration looks ahead to reopening.
While new daily case figures are starting to hold steady or tick downward nationally — that doesn’t mean things are improving everywhere. In every southern state except Florida and Texas, new case counts are still climbing. The CDC projects that by June 20 the death toll will reach about 123,000.
Corporate America is bullish on the economic recovery
Business leaders predict the US will swiftly dig itself out of the deep downturn driven by the coronavirus pandemic. Two-thirds of US executives surveyed expect the American economy will recover from the recession within one year, according to a poll of 300 decision makers conducted by TMF Group that was shared exclusively with CNN Business.
The findings paint a surprisingly bullish view from the C-Suite given the carnage in the US economy and warnings from health experts of a second wave of coronavirus infections. If that optimism translates to fewer layoffs and more investment, it could help limit the economic damage during the crisis.
WHO is still concerned about rising cases
There are still several virus hot spots around the world causing concern, said a top World Health Organization official during CNN’s Global Town Hall last night.
The WHO is keeping a close eye on very large increases in case numbers in Russia, Africa, the Americas, some countries in South Asia and a few other countries in Europe, said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for the WHO’s coronavirus response.
ON OUR RADAR
- The Boston Marathon has been canceled for the first time in its 124-year history, having persisted through two World Wars and another pandemic. The race will be held virtually instead.
- “I hope your son gets coronavirus.” Watford captain Troy Deeney reveals abuse he’s suffered after expressing concerns about the Premier League’s attempts to restart the season.
- For decades, nightclubs and raves have provided a sense of community in times of social or political upheaval. Here’s a look at how we might party post-pandemic.
- Are you missing your favorite watering hole? Perhaps a little bored with the usual glass of wine or can of beer? Industry experts offer their top tips and tipples.
- Pantry-loading has extended into freezer-stuffing in the pandemic, and that means frozen food items like Stouffer’s Lasagna, Hot Pockets and Marie Callender’s pies are flying off shelves.
- Renault is slashing 14,600 jobs as part of a major overhaul designed to reduce costs and help the French carmaker survive the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Wearing a mask is still among your best defences against the coronavirus. A study published yesterday in BMJ Global Health has even suggested wearing face coverings at home. If a person wore a face mask before they showed signs that they were sick, it was 79% effective at reducing transmission, according to the research. The masks proved only to be effective in the home before a member of the household showed symptoms, the study said. The study also found that opening windows, keeping more than about 3 feet apart and disinfecting shared surfaces seemed to lower the risk of passing the virus on to family members, even in crowded homes.
“As long as they’re eating healthy, getting exercise, sleeping, getting downtime, I think it’s OK to be a little bit more lenient on your screen time rules.” — Dr. Tanya Altmann, pediatrician
Summer’s coming, but for many, it will look very different. As camps and activities are canceled, families are getting creative. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about solutions for parents and for kids. Listen Now.