Leaked federal agency documents outline planning for the US to end the economically crippling coronavirus lockdown in May, according to a report.
A three-stage process is described in leaked documents dated April 10 developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An initial preparation phase would feature a public relations messaging blitz lasting until May 1, according to the Washington Post, which acquired the 36-page public health chapter and an 11-page executive summary of the report.
A second phase spanning May 1 to May 15 would see mass-production of test kits and protective equipment.
Then, as a third step, life would return to normal if local conditions allowed.
The plan is titled “A Framework for Re-Opening America” and says reopening would take effect “not before May 1,” the Washington Post reported.
At least 17 million Americans have lost their jobs since state and local governments began ordering business closures last month. President Trump has been anxious to undo the unprecedented spike in unemployment, despite fears of the deadly virus.
CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, US Secretary of States Mike Pompeo, US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence arrive to participate in the daily briefing on the novel coronavirusAFP via Getty Images
A CDC response document included in the leaked report says a priority is to “reopen community settings where children are cared for, including K-12 schools, daycares, and locally attended summer camps, to allow the workforce to return to work,” according to the paper.
“Other community settings will follow with careful monitoring for increased transmission that exceeds the public health and health care systems,” the CDC response says, according to the paper.
Trump said Tuesday at a White House press conference that “the plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized.”
Still, Trump has vacillated on how and when to reopen the country. Last month, he said he hoped for a grand reopening by Easter on April 12, before walking back that date as merely “aspirational.”
This week, Trump suggested he could force governors to reopen businesses, before saying Tuesday, “I will then be authorizing each individual governor, of each individual state, to implement a reopening and a very powerful reopening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate.” He said that some states could be in shape to reopen on or before May 1.
The US has the world’s largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of Wednesday, about 610,000 cases have been diagnosed and more than 26,000 US residents have died.