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Coronavirus Update: As shelter orders near April end, lawmakers face big decisions on extending

Georgia among first states to reopen, as some gyms, salons, other businesses unlock doors Friday

Empty roads leading into Atlanta, Georgia's economic hub
(TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: April 24, 2020 - 9:57am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

With just a few days remaining in April, governors and mayors across the country are facing big decisions about whether to ease or extend their coronavirus restrictions. 

Such decisions are becoming increasingly tough for leaders – as signs that the infection rate in America is slowing while the economy continues to worsen. 

The U.S. as of Friday morning had 869,172 reported coronavirus cases and 49,963 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center.

The number of worldwide cases is now more than 2.7 million, with the related death toll at 191,617. 

The difficult decisions about whether to keep shelter-in-place orders or ease them by allowing some stores and other businesses to open are playing out in states including Georgia and Michigan.

In Georgia, GOP Gov. Brian Kemp is opening businesses on Friday – including some salons, tattoo shops and gyms.

Kemp opened the businesses amid increasing political and economic pressure, as roughly 26 million Americans have in the past five weeks filed for first-time unemployment benefits. Kemp’s decision to reopen the state was even questioned by President Trump, who has repeatedly expressed concerns about keeping the U.S. economy in hibernation.  

In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing increasing pressure from residents and the GOP-controlled legislature to lift restrictions. Critics have held rallies at the statehouse and reportedly in front of her home. 

Despite signs of the virus’s downward trend, other data suggests some of the positive numbers could be inaccurate.

In hard-hit New York City, for example, one in five residents may have had the virus, based on more accurate antibody tests.