NEW YORK - May is bringing cautious reopenings from coronavirus lockdowns, from Beijing's Forbidden city to shopping malls in Texas, as the grim toll from the pandemic ticks higher.
Many communities are inching toward normalcy without certainty over whether they've vanquished viral outbreaks.
Bleak economic figures raise pressure on leaders to end shutdowns: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surpassed a staggering 30 million and Europe's economy shrank a record 3.8% as lockdowns froze businesses. In the U.S., where large numbers of people are still dying from COVID-19, health officials are warning of a second wave of infection and some fear going back to work.
President Trump has left reopening the country in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic up to individual states, and that's now left a wide variety of action being taken.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom closed Orange County beaches after seeing a lack of social distancing. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy is opening up parks and golf courses. Some states are reopening business today, while others say the health crisis does not allow it. But what is next for Virginia?
This week, Governor Ralph Northam announced non-emergency surgeries and dental procedures can resume.
Northam says the state was only doing emergency surgeries at one point to preserve PPE for frontline healthcare workers. He says due to social distancing - the efforts are having positive impacts. And because of those successes - he says hospitals are prepared to start non-emergency procedures safely.
Northam says the procedures will resume with guidelines in place to ensure safety for healthcare workers and patients and to maintain an adequate supply of PPE.
"Elective often means non emergnecy. Elective surgeries include everything from knee replacements to some cancer treatments. These are procedures that can wait a while but certainly not forever. I know Virginia's hospitals are committed to our ongoing partnership and i want to ensure Virginians that if we begin to see cases and hospitalization rates rise again, we're all prepared to take swift and necessary action."
VCU Health already responded to the governor’s decision and said they are prepared to resume elective surgeries and procedures for both pediatric and adult patients starting Friday.
What else is to come for Virginia? The governor will be giving more updates at his 2 p.m., press conference in Richmond, which will be streamed on our website and Facebook page.