© Reuters. Medical workers at the Maimonides Medical Center respond during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID19) outbreak in New York's Brooklyn neighborhood
By Maria Caspani and Jessica Resnick-Ault
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Coronavirus pandemic deaths in the United States were 31,000 on Wednesday as governors carefully prepared Americans for a life after the virus, which would likely include public face coverings as a "new normal" .
Governors of Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania each issued orders or recommendations that residents should wear face masks if they emerged from isolation in the coming weeks.
"If you want to be in the public eye and can't maintain social distance, then you have to put on a mask and put that mask on," said New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.
Similar orders were issued last week in New Jersey and Los Angeles, and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly recommended facewear on Tuesday.
California governor Gavin Newsom said that residents of the country's most populous state would likely wear masks in public for some time to come.
"We will be back to normal; it will be a new normal," said Connecticut governor Ned Lamont, repeating a sentence that at least two of his governor colleagues had used in the past few days.
The U.S. Midwestern governors also made plans together to get their economies going again, said Jordan Abudayyeh, spokeswoman for the governor of Illinois, J. B. Pritzker.
In Michigan, hundreds of cars flooded the streets around the State Capitol in Lansing on Wednesday to protest against the order of Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, one of the most stringent in the country.
During the demonstration organized by conservative and pro-president Donald Trump groups, some demonstrators left their cars on the lawn in front of the Capitol, many of them not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
FEE HEALTH PERSONNEL
By Wednesday evening, 30,885 people in the United States had died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to a Reuters study.
This includes more than 4,000 deaths newly attributed to the disease in New York City after health officials revised their counting methods to include "probable" but unconfirmed cases.
Healthcare workers have been at the forefront of unique health threats to fight the pandemic.
Reuters has identified more than 50 nurses, doctors, and medical technicians who have died after being diagnosed with or having symptoms of COVID-19. At least 16 were in the state of New York.
"The emergency room is like a war zone," said Raj Aya, whose wife Madhvi Aya – a medical nurse in Brooklyn – was one of the healthcare workers who died in New York.
As the outbreak begins to slow, political leaders have argued over how and when to begin removing unprecedented barriers that have harmed the economy and largely restricted Americans to their homes.
Washington State governor Jay Inslee said at an afternoon press conference that the biggest obstacle to returning to normal was a lack of coronavirus testing.
"We just didn't have enough test kits – they just don't exist anywhere in the US right now," said Inslee, adding that the state had bought about a million swabs along with vials and test media, but they were just beginning to arrive.
At his daily meeting in the White House hours later, Trump boasted that the United States had "the most extensive testing system in the world." However, testing is a problem for the federal states and not for the federal government.
"We can't think of a Walmart (NYSE 🙂 parking lot" that does some testing, but states and cities should do so, he said.
The Senate Democrats announced on Wednesday a $ 30 billion plan to significantly expand nationwide coronavirus testing.
"Almost in free fall"
Trump cited data indicating that the peak of new infections was over and announced guidelines for reopening the economy on Thursday.
The widespread closings of companies have left millions of Americans unemployed and shopkeepers struggle to pay rent.
Government data released on Wednesday showed that retail sales fell 8.7% in March, the largest decrease since the start of the follow-up in 1992. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity.
In addition, production in US factories has declined the most since 1946 as the pandemic broke the supply chains.
"The economy is almost in free fall," said Sung Won Son, a professor of business administration at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
The United States, with the third largest population in the world, has now suffered the most coronavirus deaths, ahead of Italy and Spain.
Worldwide, the number of infections has exceeded the 2 million mark and over 136,000 people have died, as a Reuters report shows.
The pathogen occurred in China last year.
Trump said on Wednesday that his government had tried to determine whether the corona virus came from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing needs to "get clean" as it knows. The official death toll published by the Chinese government is around 3,600.
The source of the virus remains a mystery. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that U.S. intelligence said the coronavirus was likely to have occurred naturally instead of being produced in a laboratory in China, but there is no certainty.