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The number of new coronavirus cases is going down in 28 states as reopening efforts continue

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains how difficult it will be to mitigate spread of the coronavirus in restaurants, one of the businesses set to reopen following governors relaxing orders in some Southern states.

Posted: May 15, 2020 11:21 AM
Updated: May 15, 2020 11:21 AM

The number of new coronavirus cases reported each day is going down in more than half of US states, according to an analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

In all, 28 states have seen a downward trend, including several that took steps toward reopening relatively early, like Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Colorado.

A notable exception is Texas, where case numbers are up between 20% and 30% since the state began lifting stay-home restrictions on May 1. Thursday was particularly grim as the Lone Star State recorded 58 new deaths -- the state's highest one-day increase in coronavirus fatalities since the pandemic began.

In all, seven states are still experiencing upward trends in case numbers, while numbers appear to be holding steady in 15 others.

As of early Friday, more than 1.4 million people in the US have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 85,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins.

Track your state's cases here

Meantime, state officials continue to lift stay-at-home restrictions.

Parts of New York state, long the epicenter of the US outbreak, are eligible to begin a phased reopening Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

Five regions — Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier — have met the seven criteria required to start phase one of the state's reopening plan. Some industries like construction and manufacturing will be allowed to resume. Retail will remain limited to curbside or in-store pickup.

Still, the governor urged caution, warning residents, "Phased reopening does not mean the problem has gone away."

Cuomo extended a stay-at-home order late Thursday for other regions until May 28, unless they meet the seven requirements, like 14-day declines in hospitalizations and death, hospital bed availability, testing capacity and contact tracing.

Parts of Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and Oregon are also set to start lifting some restrictions Friday. By Sunday, 48 states will have partially reopened.

A word of caution: It will take weeks to learn the full health effects of states reopening.

Testing is still a concern

With the reopenings and eased social distancing restrictions, testing remains a major concern, with health experts warning the US is still lagging behind.

While not every person who tests positive will need treatment, testing ensures most of the cases are identified and traced, said Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Every case that's out there could be the spark that starts another outbreak in your community that gets out of control," he said.

With the right measures, countries can suppress transmission and avoid bouncing back-and-forth between lockdown and lifting restrictions, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the Covid-19 response at the World Health Organization.

South Korea and Singapore have been successful in containing the virus because they have rapidly identified it, started contact tracing and combated opportunities for it to resurge, she added.

Experts have said coronavirus is likely to keep spreading for at least another 18 months to two years — until about 70% of the population has been infected.

With nearly all states easing social distancing, the nation has now shifted to harm reduction -- which focuses on ways to reduce the risk if it cannot be removed entirely, said Dr. Leana Wen, an ER physician and the former health commissioner for Baltimore.

"We had a strategy before. That strategy was we would reduce the number of infections and at the same time build up our capabilities to do testing, tracing, isolation," she said Thursday night during the CNN global town hall on coronavirus.

"We know that that's what's going to be effective, but we are reopening before those capabilities are in place. So in essence, we're saying it's too hard. We're not going to be able to get there. And so we're switching to a new phase. "

The new strategy includes ways to slow the spread of the virus such as social distancing, avoiding unnecessary gatherings, changing ventilation systems and increasing time outdoors, she said.

Trial starts on drugs once declared dangerous

With the number of deaths growing in the US, finding a vaccine and treatment for the virus remain a top priority.

The National Institutes of Health started a new trial for people with mild coronavirus cases that uses drugs the agency once declared as dangerous.

Both the NIH and the Food and Drug Administration have warned against the use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, saying they should only be limited to clinical trials.

The FDA says the combination should not be used outside of a hospital setting because it causes heart rhythm problems. In addition, several trials have shown the combination does not help coronavirus patients.

But the NIH said it would enroll 2,000 people infected with coronavirus to try the drug combination at home. Study participants must have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, it said, adding that the first person enrolled in San Diego.

"Participants will be randomly assigned to receive short-term treatment with either hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin or matching placebos," it said. "People living with HIV and pregnant and breastfeeding women also are eligible to participate in the study."

The NIH did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

CDC sets up 'decision trees' on reopening

Places considering reopening their doors after weeks of restrictions are getting additional guidance from federal officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released "decision trees" to help workplaces, communities, schools, day cares, camps and mass transit decide when it's safe to reopen.

The six documents posted on its website Thursday provide step-by-step guidance advising employers to encourage social distancing, hand washing and intensified cleaning.

They do not provide any detailed advice on when it would be safe for schools or business to open -- only questions to ask before making any decisions.

Its purpose is to assist employers in making reopening decisions, but it's still important for them to check with state and local health officials to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community, the workplace tree reads.

They include small adjustments to account for the differences between schools, for instance, and restaurants.

MLB is making plans to play in the summer

Since the stay-at-home-orders to combat the spread of the virus, Major League Baseball has been losing money. Now it's working on plans for a modified season in which games would take place in empty stadiums, Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

"It's hopeful that we will have some Major League Baseball this summer," Manfred said at CNN's global town hall. "We are making plans about playing in empty stadiums. But as I've said before, all of those plans are dependent on what the public health situation is."

Manfred said he'd spoken to governors in 18 states where the game is played and most expressed hope they'd be able to use the empty parks this summer.

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could put MLB franchises in a $4 billion hole, he said.

Some states are taking steps toward allowing typical summer activities in the coming weeks. The governors of New Jersey and Delaware said beaches will be open by Memorial Day weekend, with capacity restrictions and social distancing.

And Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Thursday her state had a goal of allowing summer and youth camps to operate in-person beginning June 29. Camps will be subject to strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines, such as keeping children in small groups of 10.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62856

Reported Deaths: 3032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11433443
Cuyahoga8786393
Hamilton6563207
Lucas2889305
Marion274039
Montgomery237835
Summit2299209
Pickaway221641
Mahoning1907239
Butler176747
Columbiana135060
Stark1196114
Lorain109769
Trumbull103277
Warren94525
Clark79310
Delaware67515
Fairfield64317
Tuscarawas60110
Lake57022
Belmont56722
Medina56632
Licking56012
Miami50331
Portage48759
Wood47451
Clermont4537
Ashtabula44544
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3635
Allen34841
Greene3229
Mercer29510
Erie26722
Holmes2575
Darke25326
Huron2382
Madison2139
Ottawa16624
Sandusky15715
Washington14420
Coshocton1413
Ross1393
Crawford1385
Putnam13415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Athens1111
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1052
Muskingum961
Union931
Monroe8917
Hancock851
Lawrence820
Preble821
Hocking809
Clinton791
Guernsey793
Shelby744
Williams742
Logan681
Fulton660
Scioto650
Carroll643
Ashland632
Wyandot625
Brown601
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland491
Van Wert451
Perry411
Seneca402
Henry330
Paulding280
Jackson270
Pike270
Adams251
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan120
Unassigned00
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Angola
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Huntington
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Decatur
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