Most Americans support stay-at-home orders despite White House push to reopen economy

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U.S. President Donald Trump attends a press conference in the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Feb. 26, 2020. U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday appointed Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the country's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a press conference in the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Feb. 26, 2020. U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday appointed Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the country's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

An overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of the current stay-at-home orders to stem the spread of COVID-19, despite the White House persistent push to ease social distancing restrictions and reopen its country, a new poll has suggested.

The Reuters-Ipsos survey released on Tuesday found that 72 percent of Americans, including 55 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents, support quarantine measures remaining in effect until “doctors and public health officials say it is safe.”

The findings came as several U.S. states move to reopen their communities in response to the protests in various state capitals against social-distancing requirements.

As of 8:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday (0000 GMT Wednesday), there have been more than 823,786 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 44,999 people have died from the disease, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

On Thursday, the Trump administration unveiled guidelines for a phased reopening of the U.S. economy amid the pandemic that has grounded the nation to a halt.

“My administration is issuing new federal guidelines that will allow governors to take a phased and deliberate approach to reopening their individual states,” Trump said at a White House press conference.

“Governors will be empowered to tailor an approach that meets the diverse circumstances they have in their own states,” he said.

The guidelines have raised concerns among public health experts. Many have insisted that the country needs significant testing capacity and a comprehensive contact-tracing program in place to safely reopen, with some warning reopening too quickly could cause the disease to spread further.

Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season, according to a report by The Washington Post.

“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield was quoted as saying. “When I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”

In order to heal the severe wounds the coronavirus has inflicted on the national economy, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a relief package that would increase funding for small businesses, hospitals and coronavirus testing.

The swift passage by a voice vote came after congressional Democrats reached an agreement with the Trump administration on the 484-billion-U.S.-dollar relief package earlier in the day.

The package will provide more than 310 billion dollars in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to boost small business lending, as well as 75 billion dollars for hospitals, and 25 billion dollars for coronavirus testing, according to Democratic leaders.

New York state, the hardest-hit in the country, said it cannot reopen for business until a testing regime has been established to determine who is safe to return to work, and will reopen at a different rate on a regional basis, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday at a news briefing.

Meanwhile, several other U.S. states, such as Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois and Louisiana, have recently announced plans intended to restart economy and public life in their states. Enditem

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