As states begin to reopen, some Americans say it's about time. Experts are not so sure.

CNN's Randi Kaye takes a closer look at how quickly germs can spread in restaurants through a science experiment designed to track germ droplets.

Posted: May 21, 2020 12:21 AM
Updated: May 21, 2020 12:21 AM

At Archie Moore's Bar and Restaurant in Milford, Connecticut, it was a beautiful Wednesday, and the patio was a full as it could be.

But amid a deadly pandemic, full doesn't mean packed.

Tables at the restaurant were 6 feet apart. There were single-use paper menus. Arrows told patrons which way to go in. Everyone needed a mask -- and if you didn't have one, the restaurant would give you one.

These are the new rules, put in place by Connecticut officials as the state joined others across the US in beginning its gradual reopening.

People still aren't allowed to dine inside, but this first little freedom made some locals happy.

One man told CNN he felt this was long overdue.

"I understand the caution and everybody wants to be safe but sometimes some things are being taken to the extreme," he told CNN's Brynn Gingras. "And they just have to understand people (who are) trapped inside, they can't take it anymore. They've got to get back out."

Now, as states start to roll back restrictions put in place during stay-at-home orders, the question remains: When will people feel safe to go out, and what are the risks?

With only a handful of states showing significant improvement in infection rates, some experts caution it could be too soon.

Track the virus

As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 18 states had registered an upward trend in average daily cases -- a rise of at least 10% -- over the previous seven days, according to an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

Only 17 states' average daily cases dropped more than 10%, while the rest were level or near level, the data showed.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released 60 pages of detailed guidance Tuesday on how to reopen the country -- including road maps for schools, restaurants, transit and child care facilities. In the guidance, the center advised that the first phase of reopening should begin after a state has seen a downward trajectory in cases over 14 days.

The CDC posted its guidelines as news emerged that at least two states, Florida and Georgia, are under scrutiny for their public data on Covid-19 cases, and while Texas, Vermont and Virginia face questions after combining results from diagnostic and antibody tests, which could skew results.

More than 1.55 million people in the United States have tested positive for the virus and at least 93,406 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

"The only thing that was keeping this very contagious virus in check was each of us keeping that physical distance," former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said Tuesday. "If we're going to let people go to work and reopen, we are going to be introducing risk of some kind. The key is what are the steps we can take to reduce that risk as much as possible?"

Different strokes for different states

States have moved at different paces as governors balance reopening their economies with keeping residents safe. Some states, including Georgia and Texas, rolled out aggressive reopening plans, while others have taken a more measured approach.

Alaska's and Iowa's governors said their states are ready to reopen most businesses Friday.

In Alaska, that means all businesses, houses of worship, libraries, museums and sporting activities can resume at 8 a.m., Gov. Mike Dunleavy's office said. Alaska has the fewest cases of all 50 states, has reported only single-digit new cases since mid-April and boasted no new cases Monday.

Alaskans are still encouraged to take precautions, such as distancing and wearing masks in crowds, and visitation will remain limited to prisons and senior centers, the governor's office said.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds intends to allow movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding venues reopen Friday, she said. Swimming pools will be allowed to open for laps and lessons as well. Bars can reopen May 28, and school-sponsored activities, such as sports, can resume June 1, she said.

Iowa tallied 212 new cases Tuesday, marking its third straight day of declining Covid-19 positives, according to state data. Its total cases have been on the decline for a week, the data shows.

Indiana, too, plans to move ahead with opening a large swath of its economy Friday, but with numerous restrictions, including: limiting social gatherings to 100 people, limiting dining rooms to 50% capacity and stores to 75% capacity, and omitting contact games, such as football and lacrosse, from the list of sports allowed to resume.

"We're still telling you to be overly cautious about surrounding yourself in an environment that could put you at risk," Gov. Eric Holcomb said.

New York, California and Pennsylvania are among states that are allowing locales reporting declines in new cases to reopen as other areas remain closed.

Many cities also remain under stay-at-home orders. In Baltimore, gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited and retail stores remain closed.

In New York City, officials report some positive indicators, though the number of people admitted to hospitals with suspected cases of Covid-19 ticked up slightly Monday, from 57 in a day to 63.

"It's a good day. We want to have great days, though," Mayor Bill de Blasio said, also sharing the positive news that the city had enough personal protection equipment to last through May and will begin working on building a surplus of PPE and ventilators.

Last month, the White House issued guidance to help states plan for reopening, but the measures were not mandatory and governors were left to make their own decisions.

Experts have warned that lifting restrictions prematurely may mean thousands more Americans will die in a second spike in cases.

The responsibility lies with individuals to adhere to guidelines, practice safe social distancing and adopt habits to keep themselves and loved ones safe.

WHO says new case reports hit record

Almost two-thirds of a record number of new case reports in the past 24 hours came from just four countries, including the United States, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Tedros Adhanom-Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said there were 106,000 cases reported in 24 hours, the most in one day since the pandemic began last year.

"We still have a long way to go in this pandemic," Tedros said.

Brazil, India, Russia, and the United States had two-thirds of the new cases reported, WHO infectious disease epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove wrote in an email to CNN.

According to the US Census Bureau, the four are among the 10 top most populous countries in the world -- Brazil, No. 7; India, No. 2; Russia, No. 9 and US, No. 3.

Because there are delays in reporting, the number does not mean 106,000 people were infected, tested or counted in the past 24 hours, but that the results were compiled by the WHO in that time.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49063

Reported Deaths: 2732
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11760689
Lake5276246
Elkhart340255
Allen2835133
St. Joseph200169
Cass16429
Hamilton1608101
Hendricks1425100
Johnson1296118
Porter76738
Tippecanoe7359
Clark66844
Madison66764
Bartholomew59145
Vanderburgh5876
LaPorte58326
Howard58058
Kosciusko5624
Marshall5016
Noble48528
LaGrange4779
Jackson4733
Boone45443
Delaware45252
Hancock45236
Shelby43125
Floyd38444
Morgan32731
Monroe30928
Montgomery29720
Grant29626
Clinton2902
Dubois2886
Henry28216
White26610
Decatur25432
Lawrence24825
Dearborn23823
Vigo2388
Warrick22729
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1862
Jennings17712
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14817
Wayne1436
Orange13623
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1247
Jasper1232
Wabash1142
Carroll1102
Fayette1037
Newton9910
Gibson982
Whitley975
Starke943
Randolph804
Huntington782
Jefferson762
Wells751
Fulton721
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Owen501
Adams491
Benton480
Posey450
Sullivan451
Spencer441
Brown421
Blackford392
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio180
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60181

Reported Deaths: 2991
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10879439
Cuyahoga8277383
Hamilton6287206
Lucas2836303
Marion273639
Summit2241207
Pickaway220541
Montgomery220131
Mahoning1861239
Butler167447
Columbiana130960
Stark1156113
Lorain106468
Trumbull99774
Warren89525
Clark7809
Delaware61715
Fairfield60517
Tuscarawas58510
Belmont55522
Medina54332
Lake52920
Licking52012
Miami47531
Portage46159
Wood45251
Ashtabula43744
Clermont4317
Geauga41443
Wayne36552
Richland3515
Allen32841
Mercer2909
Greene2879
Darke25326
Erie25022
Holmes2453
Huron2282
Madison2029
Ottawa16024
Washington14020
Sandusky13814
Crawford1365
Putnam13215
Ross1323
Coshocton1302
Hardin12312
Morrow1181
Auglaize1074
Jefferson922
Union921
Monroe8917
Muskingum891
Hancock831
Preble801
Athens791
Hocking798
Guernsey763
Lawrence740
Williams722
Shelby704
Clinton680
Logan651
Fulton630
Ashland621
Carroll603
Wyandot605
Brown591
Scioto540
Defiance533
Knox531
Fayette480
Highland461
Champaign441
Van Wert420
Perry371
Seneca352
Henry320
Jackson260
Paulding260
Adams241
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia201
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
Scattered Clouds
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Decatur
Clear
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Van Wert
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AM Storms, Slightly Cooler Friday
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