Manic Mondays: Your Weekly Guide For Living In The COVID Economy
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We’ll take good news where we can get it these days, and a little has seeped in. Coronavirus cases are falling in the United States, slowly but surely.
New York City Is No Longer The Hot Bed
New York City started taking its first steps toward reopening Monday, June 8, exactly 100 days after its first coronavirus case was confirmed.
The most populated city in the country started the first phase of reopening. Up to 400,000 workers could return to jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail.
More than 205,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus and nearly 22,000 have died. At one point, as many as 800 people were dying from Covid-19 in a single day.
New York State can continue reopening because positive test results are declining, the governor said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that on Sunday only 1.2% of people tested that day across the state tested positive for coronavirus. That number of 702 people testing positive was the lowest number in the state since March, Cuomo said.
New York City residents are still urged to wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines, including in normally packed areas such as subway platforms.
After months of closure, stores in the city were allowed to reopen with curbside and in-store pickup.
The city’s public transit system has gone largely unused during the pandemic. Transit officials now predict that up to 15% of usual riders, or 825,000 people, are likely to return during the first phase of recovery.
Along with its subways open, New York City on Monday opened 20 new miles of busways and bus lanes to help ease crowding. The Staten Island ferry will launch every 20 minutes in an increase of its rush hour service.
California Reopening Expands
Even as coronavirus cases topped 125,000 in California, state officials said late last week that individual counties would be allowed to begin reopening gyms, bars, campgrounds, professional sports and a wide range of businesses as early as this Friday.
Counties in the state are allowed to have stricter rules of stay-at-home orders than what the state allows, but the state is allowing Phase 3 of reopening to begin with detailed plans on how to do it.
The new guidelines allow RV parks, casinos operated by sovereign tribal nations, and schools to reopen.
Most Bay Area counties, however, have stricter guidelines and are slowly moving through Phase 2 of the reopening. It allows “lower risk” workplaces such as retail, manufacturing and limited personal services such as hair salons to reopen. Outdoor dining has reopened in some Bay Area counties, while San Francisco won’t allow it until June 15.
“Higher risk” California businesses that can reopen in Phase 3 include music, film and television production with county approval on June 12. Cast and crew must follow safety protocols.
In Los Angeles County, the coronavirus transmission rate is climbing as the economy reopens.
Officials said the increase largely reflected infections that happened before the start of demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd, a black man killed after a white Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground by the neck on May 25.
The incubation period for the coronavirus infection can last as long as two weeks.
Health officials in Los Angeles said they expect hospitalizations for Covid-19 to increase over the week or two.
The airline industry is slowly getting back on its feet, and Britain is welcoming travelers back. With a big caveat.
The country is requiring a 14-day quarantine for all travelers arriving in Britain, angering its travel industry and raising doubts about how practical the rules are.
Anyone entering Britain by air, ferry or train will have to provide an address where they’ll isolate for 14 days. Violators will be fined about $1,200.
Some types of travelers are exempt, such as truck drivers, medical workers, fruit pickers and anyone coming from Ireland. But not other international tourists.
The United Kingdom is one of five countries where the Pentagon has lifted travel restrictions from the United States. The others are Bahrain, Belgium, Germany and Japan.
The Transportation Security Administration reported Monday that the weekend had the highest amount of air travel since the coronavirus pandemic started.
More than 400,000 people were screened by the TSA on Friday and Sunday, marking the first time that many travelers have gone through airport security lines in the U.S. in nearly 11 weeks.
Still, travel numbers are down. The 441,000 travelers on Sunday was only 17% on the same Sunday in 2019, the TSA said.
New Zealand Eliminates Coronavirus
All social and economic restrictions except border controls have been lifted in New Zealand, which declared Monday it was free of the coronavirus. It’s one of the first countries in the world to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
Social distancing rules are no longer required at public and private events, at stores and hotels, or on any form of public transportation.
New Zealand’s 5 million people were on a strict lockdown for 75 days, when only essential workers were allowed to leave their homes. The country has reported 1,154 infections and 22 deaths from Covid-19 since the virus arrived in late February.
Restrictions are still in place for visitors. Anyone entering the country must be tested and quarantined.