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'No fresh virus spike' in US states coming off lockdown

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Georgia and other US states that were quick to reopen after going into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus have not seen an initial spike in cases, new data shows.

Trackers from the 'New York Times' and the website Axios, which take a seven-day rolling average, show new cases have continued to drop despite the relaxation of rules.

The statistics offer a glimmer of hope that lockdowns can be loosened without triggering a new surge in the virus, though firm conclusions are difficult.

Factors such as lags in identifying new cases, local counties not adopting state-wide reopening moves and the continuing cautious behaviour of residents could play a part.

The figures emerged as US political debate continues to be dominated by how to meet the twin aims of limiting Covid-19's spread and getting the economy back on track.

The data comes as Donald Trump, the US president, is facing pressure to start wearing a face mask after all White House staff entering the West Wing were ordered to do so.

Dismissed

The move emerged after two White House employees, a valet to Mr Trump and a press officer, caught the virus, leading to some scientific advisers isolating.

Mike Pence, the US vice- president, has been spotted wearing a mask, having declined to do so previously.

However, Mr Trump is not bound by the White House order to wear a mask and in recent weeks has dismissed calls to do so at public events.

He has argued he is regularly tested for coronavirus and stands 6ft away from people when speaking to the media at press conferences.

Doug Jones, the Democratic senator for Alabama, urged Mr Trump to wear a mask, saying it would "set an example". Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker, called his decision not to a "vanity thing".

In America, governors for each state decide when and how to ease restrictions put in place to counter coronavirus, though the US government has issued guidance.

US scientific advisers have continued to caution against reopening states too quickly, urging governors to do so only after a 14-day fall in new cases.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, warned that more "suffering and death" could be seen if states reopen too soon. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent