The number of new cases of COVID-19 has slowed in most places, and the pressure on state and local governments to reduce restrictions on businesses and individuals related to the disease has increased. Protests have been held in several state capitals and local protests included one on the courthouse lawn in Lincolnton Saturday (May 2nd).
On Tuesday (May 5th) Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina would enter phase one of his 'reopening' plan effective at 5 PM Friday (May 8th).
The only big differences in phase one will be the reopening of parks and that all businesses except for barber shops, hair & nail salons, gyms, theaters, tatoo parlors and others on a short list, including those not judged 'essential' will be able to operate so long as they observe social distancing and maximum occupancy restrictions. Phase two will likely follow--if all goes well in about two weeks. [See photos in photo gallery with this article.]
The personal finance website WalletHub today (Tuesday May 5th) released findings of a study comparing coronavirus restriction in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
No surprise that South Dakota came out #1 on the list of states with the fewest restrictions. They were followed by Utah and North Dakota.
By far the most restrictions are in Hawaii, where Gov. David Ige issued a proclamation in late March that requires all visitors to the state to observe a 14-day quarantine. If you go to Hawaii now, you'll be escorted from the airport to your hotel room and will have to stay there for 14 days before you can visit any public spaces, including but not limited to pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers or restaurants. You can only leave your room for medical care. So far, Hawaii, a major destination for international travel and a stopping point en route to other Pacific locations, has had only 621 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths. By comparison, South Dakota, with a population of about 850,000 has had 2668 cases and 21 deaths; North Dakota, with a population of 760,000 has had 1225 cases and 25 deaths. Utah, with a population of about three million, has had over 5,000 cases and 50 deaths.
The most deaths of any state is, of course, New York, which has been hit hardest by the virus. With nearly 320,000 confirmed cases, the state has had 25,000 deaths. On WalletHub's list, New York ranks 45th. Restrictions are judged higher in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, DC, and Rhode Island.
North Carolina is listed at #28 on the list, meaning 27 states have less restrictions and 23 have more. South Carolina is listed at #17; Georgia at #11 and Florida at #9. All three of those states recently relaxed restrictions to varying degrees.
While the number of cases continues to increase and with it the number of deaths, and the daily report varies slightly with states exchanging positions from one day to the next, North Carolina ranks about 20th in terms of the number of deaths from COVID-19.
“South Dakota ranks as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions in large part because it is one of only seven states that never required statewide school closures during the coronavirus crisis, and the only state that never announced a statewide closure of bars and restaurants,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “South Dakota has imposed some restrictions, like a ban on large gatherings, but is one of the first states lifting that limitation. One major COVID-19 restriction that South Dakota still has in place is the state’s guidance to postpone non-essential elective surgeries.
“New York ranks as having the seventh most coronavirus restrictions in the US,” said Gonzalez. “Some of the biggest restrictions that New York has imposed during the COVID-19 crisis are a limited statewide quarantine and bans on all gatherings, along with a requirement for all citizens to wear a face mask in public when social distancing is not possible, which is a measure that only a few states have made mandatory so far.
“In order to stay safe in the states that have the fewest coronavirus restrictions, people can wear masks and gloves in public even if it’s not required, and they can minimize the amount of time they spend around other people,” Gonzalez said.Employees whose jobs allow for working from home could request that their employers let them do so for another few months, and those who can’t work remotely should make sure their workplaces are cleaned regularly and have measures in place to reduce crowding.
“When states start to allow closed stores to reopen, many people will be hesitant to go out initially. We’ve heard a lot of conflicting information about what is safe and what is not since the beginning of the pandemic, so it’s understandable that some people won’t trust that everything is indeed all clear right away. It may take a while to shake lingering coronavirus fears, considering we’re starting from a point where around 60 percent of people are even worried about the safety of having packages or food delivered to their home. When people do start to leave the house again, we can expect some precautionary behaviors to carry over, such as wearing masks, a habit currently practiced by 60 percent of Americans.” [Lincoln Herald note: but only by about 10% of the shoppers we've observed at various locations in Lincoln County.]
You can view the WalletHub report's full results if you CLICK HERE.
As of Monday (May 4th) North Carolina had 11,848 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 430 deaths. [This figure may be different from others in this article because the information was collected at different times.] As of Tuesday morning (May 5th, 3,669,747 cases had been confirmed worldwide with 253,169 deaths. In the US, 1,213,010 cases had been confirmed--of those, 955,017 were still active; 188,068 had recovered; and 69,925 had died.
Other countries are also 'reopening.' Italy, which was at one point the 'hot spot' of the disease, has relaxed its restrictions this week. Greece, which has the second oldest population in Europe behind Italy, will relax some of its restrictions next Monday (May 11th).
While Italy, Spain & the United Kingdom have been hit hard by the disease, Greece has managed to keep its total number of cases to less than 3,000 (2642) and deaths to 146. Italy has had over 29,000 deaths; Spain has had over 25,000; and Britain has had over 29,000.
How did Greece do it? They had a very strict stay-at-home program. Residents were only allowed to leave their homes on a staggered one-day-a-week basis. Every new arrival to the country was immediately tested for COVID-19 (that testing program will continue at Greek airports). Even when they relax restrictions on Monday, they'll still have many more than most European countries.
Here's a list of the confirmed cases and deaths by state:
State/territory Confirmed cases Deaths New York 318,953 24,999 New Jersey 128,269 7,910 Massachusetts 69,087 4,090 Illinois 63,777 2,659 California 56,135 2,289 Pennsylvania 52,816 2,838 Michigan 43,990 4,139 Florida 36,897 1,399 Texas 32,812 902 Connecticut 29,973 2,556 Louisiana 29,673 2,064 Georgia 29,452 1,246 Maryland 26,408 1,317 Indiana 20,507 1,151 Ohio 20,474 1,057 Virginia 19,493 684 Colorado 16,918 851 Washington 15,462 841 Tennessee 13,571 219 North Carolina 11,971 442 Iowa 9,703 188 Rhode Island 9,652 341 Missouri 8,946 386 Arizona 8,924 362 Wisconsin 8,236 340 Alabama 8,112 298 Mississippi 7,877 310 Minnesota 7,234 427 South Carolina 6,757 283 Nebraska 6,037 78 Nevada 5,630 265 Kansas 5,383 156 Utah 5,317 50 Delaware 5,288 182 Kentucky 5,245 261 District of Columbia 5,170 258 Oklahoma 4,044 238 New Mexico 4,031 156 Arkansas 3,469 80 Oregon 2,759 109 South Dakota 2,668 21 New Hampshire 2,588 86 Idaho 2,106 64 Puerto Rico 1,843 97 North Dakota 1,225 25 West Virginia 1,224 48 Maine 1,205 57 Vermont 902 52 Hawaii 621 17 Wyoming 596 7 Montana 457 16 Alaska 370 9
WalletHub is a personal finance website that offers free consumer tools, such as its WalletLiteracy Quiz and its Financial Fitness Tool, which provides users with credit reports, scores and monitoring.
Other data from World Health Organization, US CDC, NCDHHS.
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