Easing lockdowns make day-to-day choices more complicated for millions

Virus Outbreak Massachusetts
Posted at 5:55 AM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 05:55:59-04

With states lifting their coronavirus restrictions according to their own timetables, Americans are facing a bewildering multitude of decisions about what they should and should not do to protect themselves and their neighbors.

Is it safe now to join the crowds at the beach or go out to eat at a favorite restaurant? To visit the elderly parents you haven’t seen in nearly two months? The less-than-satisfying answer from the experts is: It depends.

The quandary comes as the confirmed death toll from coronavirus in the U.S. has surpassed the 58,220 American service members killed in Vietnam, according to a Johns Hopkins University count.

"There will never be a perfect amount of protection," said Josh Santarpia, a microbiology expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who is studying the coronavirus. "It's a personal risk assessment. Everybody has to decide, person by person, what risk they're willing to tolerate."

With the crisis easing in many places, France, Spain and Greece were among the latest countries to announce their plans for restarting their economies. As governments make their moves to reopen businesses and schools, the next decisions made will be personal.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said children could return to classrooms as early as July, but a formal decision had not yet been made yet.

As restrictions loosen, health authorities will be watching closely for any sign of a resurgence of the virus.

On Tuesday, for example, Germany reported an uptick in the infection rate since some small businesses were allowed to reopen just over a week ago. But it was too soon to say whether the loosening was to blame.