Most public health experts believe that it is too soon to begin reopening the economy. Few states meet the guidelines for reopening; and there are far too few effective tests to determine how widely the disease has spread. Although some other industrialized countries have developed sophisticated contact tracing programs to contain the virus, in the United States there is no system in place.

The rate of growth of confirmed cases has slowed overall, but it is rising in some parts of the country. Epidemiologists widely believe that the number of actual infections is much higher because the lack of testing means that even many of those who have symptoms aren’t counted in the official figures. The rate of growth of deaths also has slowed, but not much from the recent peaks. Experts believe that the death rate from COVID-19 also is substantially understated.

Nevertheless, President Trump has advocated relaxing social distancing mandates since late March—even before the number of confirmed cases exploded, causing what likely will exceed 100,000 American deaths by Memorial Day. Although he now claims that he leaves such decisions to the states, he has applied tremendous pressure and even has threatened governors who oppose him.

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