More Than Half of States Are Ignoring This One Pivotal CDC Guideline

Thirty-two states are moving forward with their plans despite clear CDC guidance.

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With coronavirus cases surging across the country, some states are pausing their reopening plans or shutting down again, while others are plowing ahead. As case numbers and hospitalizations spike in states all over the U.S., it seems officials are struggling to determine how to proceed. As it turns out, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a clear guideline for reopening, and more than half of the states in the country aren't following it: According to the CDC, states should not reopen until they have had 14 days of declining cases.

In fact, the 14-day rule applies to every phase of reopening. Per the CDC guidelines, states should only enter phase 1 if there is "downward trajectory (or near-zero incidence) of documented cases over a 14-day period." Phases 2 and 3—which come with more openings and fewer restrictions—should only be entered when that same downward trajectory occurs for 14 days after the start of the previous phase.

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A CDC map obtained by Yahoo News shows that as many as 32 states have not been following this guideline. The majority of these states are in various phases of reopening despite zero days of a decrease in confirmed cases, while a handful of others have had 1-7 days or 8-13 days of declining cases amid reopening—none of which meet the CDC's threshold.

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Yahoo News points out that aside from individual states, the numbers nationwide are not encouraging. According to another map they obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, positive test rates for coronavirus rose to nearly 8 percent across the country. Per Reuters, new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. increased 45.6 percent last week, with new cases more than doubling in some states.

Among those states that have been especially hard hit, additional restrictions are being implemented—from closing bars to new mask mandates. For the most part, however, a return to full lockdown seems unlikely, with many governors calling shutdown a last resort.

But some states are at least reconsidering what their next phases will mean: For example, New York and New Jersey have both postponed indoor dining indefinitely in response to the outbreaks across the country. And for a look at states that reopened early, These States Ended Lockdown Two Months Ago. Here's How They're Doing.

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