More than 40 states are opening some businesses and restarting economies crushed by a pandemic that has killed nearly 76,000 Americans and infected over 1.2 million.
Vulnerable communities such as nursing homes and prisons are getting hit the hardest, and experts say the tolls will grow. Researchers predicted the relaxed social distancing due to reopenings will lead to 134,000 coronavirus deaths nationwide by August, nearly double their previous forecast.
After weeks of stay-at-home orders to maintain social distancing, protesters have taken to the streets for days demanding states reopen businesses.
Even mandates to wear masks to stop the spread of the virus have become a flashpoint, leading to one alleged killing and accusations of government overreach.
Several weeks of widespread business shutdowns meant to curb the contagion have dealt a staggering blow to the US economy, casting Americans out of work in numbers unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s and stoking pressure on politicians to lift restrictions.