CDC director says the US will reopen with a 'gradual process' as Trump says he'll 'shortly' decide when to open up states

  • CDC Director Robert Redfield said Monday that the re-opening of the US economy will be "gradual" and occur "county by county."

  • States, like New York, have reported that social distancing measures, which have forced businesses to close, have shown signs of success in flattening the curve of new infections and deaths.

  • Hours later, President Donald Trump tweeted he would make a decision on when to reopen states "shortly."

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The reopening of US businesses and a return to normal life will likely not happen all at once, Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, said Monday.

Savannah Guthrie, an anchor on NBC's "Today" show, asked Redfield about some health experts who warn that the US could experience a second wave of COVID-19 infections in either July or August should the US rush to reopen economic activity.

"There's no doubt that we have to reopen correctly," Redfield said. "It's going to be a step-by-step gradual process. It's gotta be data-driven, and as I said I think it will be community by community, county by county."

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"We've all sacrificed a substantial amount," he added, commending Americans for practicing social distancing. Without the distancing, he said the "potential mortality" of COVID-19 in the US could have "easily" been as high as 1,000,000.

"This has to be done very carefully," he said of attempts to resume shuttered portions of the country.

Redfield's comments come as social distancing efforts enacted by states around the US have started to show some signs of success.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, said over the weekend that social distancing efforts in New York have begun to show signs of paying off as the curves of new coronavirus cases and deaths from COVID-19 appear to be flattening. Other states that were quick to enact stay-at-home orders, like Washington and California, have also reported some signs of success with their distancing efforts.

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, also said the reopening of shuttered portions of the country would be "gradual."

"You want to make sure you don't do something prematurely and precipitously at the same time pay attention to need to try and get back to normal," Fauci said during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union." "It's not going to be a light switch that we say, okay it is now June, July, or whatever and the light switch goes back on."

President Trump has repeatedly expressed a desire to reopen closed portions of the country as soon as possible. On Monday, the president tweeted he believed it was his decision — not that of state governors — of when to "open up the states."

"For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors[sic] decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government. Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect," Trump said.

Trump added that his decision, which he said will be made in consultation with state leaders, will come "shortly."

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