Ready or not, parts of the US are opening back up. In a move that has frustrated medical experts, many states, especially in the Southeast, have begun the long process of returning to normal. This is coming after roughly six or seven weeks of lockdowns in some areas. Many medical experts have voiced concerns, predicting these openings will cause a resurgence of the novel coronavirus.
Proponents of reopening have argued that medical experts are putting modeling and predictions before real livelihoods. Some point out that deaths from COVID throughout March and April trended well under initial models suggested. Others note recent surveys suggesting COVID could have spread widely among the general population but gone untested in most people.
Georgia has had the most aggressive return to something resembling normal of any state in the US. The Southern state has already allowed for sit-down restaurants to resume business. Barbershops, nail salons, and gyms are also resuming normal activities. However, there are some caveats.
For one, everyone is wearing masks. When able, customers are staying six feet apart. Patrons are being sat at distant tables. Barbers are wearing gloves while giving haircuts. It’s an odd sight, but it’s something resembling normal American life. Georgians, for the most part, seem eager to return to their pre-COVID routines.
Some businesses in Southeastern states have remained closed, even while the green-light has been given to open. These businesses largely cite hesitation over returning to normal without a vaccine or treatment for COVID. Most owners of such businesses don’t share the optimism of some of their neighbors.
It’s difficult to say precisely how dangerous it is to reopen states right now. The US is far behind the rest of the world on testing capabilities. This makes it hard to paint a clear picture of how widespread the virus is. However, in spite of this, the US still has the highest number of cases of COVID in the world. Specifically, however, those cases are concentrated in population centers like New York and the Northeast in general.
That means that states and cities that are less densely populated, up to this point, have been at a lower risk. As such, their more aggressive reopening strategies make some sense. After all, their cases have never spiked as hard as some areas, and many have already seen falling case numbers. Only time will tell whether these states are truly jumping the gun, or if they’re wisely returning to normal as the virus abates.