NEW YORK (AP) — A top world health official Monday warned that countries are essentially driving blind in reopening their economies without setting up strong contact tracing to beat back flare-ups of the coronavirus.
The warning came as France and Belgium emerged from lockdowns, the Netherlands sent children back to school, and many U.S. states pressed ahead by lifting business restrictions. In California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the company’s 10,000-worker electric car factory near San Francisco was operating Monday in defiance of coronavirus health orders that closed non-essential businesses.
Authorities have cautioned that the scourge could come back with a vengeance without widespread testing and tracing of infected people’s contacts with others.
Fears of infection spikes in countries that have loosened up were borne out in recent days in Germany, where new clusters were linked to three slaughterhouses; in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the crisis started; and in South Korea, where a single nightclub customer was linked to 85 new cases.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As he encouraged the country to “reopen,” President Donald Trump confronted cases of the coronavirus in the White House itself on Monday, spotlighting the challenge he faces in instilling confidence in a nation still reeling from the pandemic.
In a potent new symbol of the risk, Trump addressed a Rose Garden audience filled with mask-wearing administration officials. That was after two known cases of COVID-19 among staffers in one of the most-protected complexes in America sent three of the nation’s top medical experts into quarantine and Vice President Mike Pence into “self-isolation.”
Trump himself, not wearing a mask, was emphasizing to the American people the steps being taken to ensure their safety — in hopes that will coax them to resume normal activities.
At one point Monday, he declared “We have met the moment, and we have prevailed.” Trump later clarified he was only referring to ‘prevailing’ in connection to testing for the virus. Yet that contention, too, is widely challenged.