Lockdown tensions grow as people seek to resume work or outings

Tens of millions of workers have lost their jobs and millions more fear they’ll be next
APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Tennessee
Posted at 4:49 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 06:22:04-04

WASHINGTON - The coronavirus is touching all levels of society and increasing tensions as governments start to ease restrictions that health experts warn should be done gradually to avoid a resurgence of the illness that has killed more than 165,000 people.

The mounting pressure was evident in the United States. The Trump administration says parts of the nation are ready to begin a gradual return to normalcy. Yet some state leaders say woefully inadequate federal action, like a lack of testing supplies, is hindering their response to the illness.

After insisting the country’s virus testing system was without fault, President Donald Trump said Sunday evening he would be using the Defense Production Act to compel increased manufacturing of testing swabs. He also remained defensive, however, vowing that there were enough swabs to go around. “Swabs are easy,” the president said, bringing one to his news briefing and waving it in front of reporters.

Trump also defended protests by his supporters, who have been gathered to demand state governors lift controls on public activity that were meant to stop the spread of the virus. The president has invoked their rallying cry and said Sunday night, “these people love our country. They want to go back to work.”

Shutdowns have disrupted economic, social, cultural and religious life and plunged the world into an economic slump unseen since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The International Monetary Fund expects the global economy to contract 3% this year. Tens of millions of workers have lost their jobs and millions more fear they’ll be next.

A few countries are acting to ease restrictions and resume economic activity, but most of the world seems to agree that the steps must be gradual.

The death toll in the U.S., the worst-hit country by far, was more than 40,000 with over 750,000 confirmed cases.

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