"The data suggests that nationwide, we have passed the peak of new cases." That was the word from President Trump Wednesday as he promised that certain parts of the US would soon begin to reopen, the BBC reports. Per CNBC, Trump said new cases of the coronavirus are "declining" in New York and are "flat" in Denver and Detroit; the rate of new cases across the US has been declining for the past six days. While the latest federal guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 go through May 1, Trump said some states may begin to ease restrictions before that. The AP reports that Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, noted there are nine states with fewer than 1,000 cases and just a few dozen new cases each day, and that those will likely be the first to see social distancing restrictions eased.
"I would say that we have 20 states, at least, but you really have 29 that are in extremely good shape. You have others that are getting much better," Trump added Wednesday, echoing the CDC director's comments that same day that "19 or 20" states could be ready to reopen by May 1. The White House is set to discuss guidelines for reopening the country Thursday, and the AP says that while the ultimate decisions will remain with the governors of each state, the new federal guidelines "are aimed at clearing the way for an easing of restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while keeping them in place in harder-hit places." However, when Trump spoke with dozens of industry leaders Wednesday, they warned that protective equipment and increased testing will be needed before their businesses can safely resume operations. (Read more coronavirus stories.)