The coronavirus has caused a stark division in the nation, with some 31 states set to reopen in some capacity in the next few days, even as others extend their stay-at-home orders, according to CNN.
That's given rise to intensifying protests, some with armed participants, in some capitals, while in other corners of the country leaders are stepping up their calls for caution.
"We need to use time to remain vigilant," Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Thursday after extending the state's order through May 15.
"The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery," he said in the Oval Office during a meeting with President Donald Trump.
Likewise, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered beaches and parks to remain closed and has said schools and businesses won't reopen for weeks.
One Northern California county, however, defied Newsom's order and reopened on Friday. Modoc County has no confirmed coronavirus cases among its roughly 9,600 residents, according to reports.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the philosophical spectrum sits Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who lifted the state's stay-at-home order for most residents on Friday and also allowed businesses — barbers, beauty salons and sit-down restaurants — to reopen last week. Those businesses are required to practice social distancing until May 31.
Florida has chosen to open the state in two different ways. Beginning May 4, restaurants and retail shops throughout most of the state are allowed to have customers inside at a limited capacity. That, however, won't apply to South Florida establishments in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Those communities will remain under lockdown.
As Fox News reported, Illinois began another month under a statewide stay-at-home order Friday, though hospitals were allowed to resume non-life-threatening surgeries and retail could open for pickup orders. Fox said protesters gathered in Chicago’s loop Friday to call on Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, to come up with a plan to reopen the sputtering state economy.
In New York, particularly hard hit by COVID-19, protesters nonetheless assembled in Albany on Friday for a march from the the Capitol to the Governor's Mansion. As in other places, they called for a state reopening. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will consider easing some shutdown restrictions in parts of the state beginning May 15, according to news services.
Likewise, protests were planned in multiple California counties on Friday. Fox also reported that thousands say they'll attend protests in Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Louisiana and Wisconsin over the weekend.
It remains to be seen if these will be as boisterous as Thursday's rally in Michigan's capital. Hundreds, some with firearms, swarmed the Capitol and tried to make their way onto the House floor in protest of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's lockdown measures and recently extended stay-at-home order.
President Trump, sympathetic to the protesters' cause and eager to see the national economy roar back to life from lockdown-inspired surges in joblessness and lost productivity, tweeted: "The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."
As of early evening on May 1,098,565 coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States, including 64,324 deaths.
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