Protests flared in U.S. states on Sunday over stay-at-home orders while governors disputed President Donald Trump’s claims they have enough tests for the novel coronavirus and should quickly reopen their economies.
An estimated 2,500 people rallied at the Washington state capitol in Olympia to protest Democratic Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order, defying a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people.
Despite pleas from rally organizers to wear face coverings or masks as public health authorities recommend, many did not.
In Denver, hundreds of people gathered at the state capitol to demand the end to Colorado’s shutdown. As protesters clogged streets with cars, healthcare workers in scrubs and face masks stood at intersections in counterprotest.
Stay-at-home measures, which experts say are essential to slow the spread of the virus, have battered the U.S. economy and more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past month. Demonstrations to demand an end have previously erupted in a few spots in Texas, Wisconsin and the capitols of Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia..
In New York, the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, hospitalizations continued decline to 16,000 from a high of 18,000, and the number of patients being kept alive by ventilators also fell. There were 507 new deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, down from a high of more than 700 a day.
To get a baseline of how many people were infected with the novel coronavirus, Cuomo said the state would do the most aggressive anti-body testing in the nation in the next week using a random sample.
The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 750,000 infections and over 40,500 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
Cuomo, along with other governors, are clamoring for more tests to detect new infections as well as to test for immunity as part of their plans to reopen their states.
Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland during a CNN interview said claims by Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that states have plenty of tests were “just absolutely false.”
Democratic Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia told CNN the idea states have enough tests was “delusional.”
The region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. is still seeing increasing cases. New Jersey reported on Sunday that its new cases rose by nearly 3,900, the most in more than two weeks. Boston and Chicago are also emerging hot spots with recent surges in cases and deaths.