Republicans repeatedly urged states to lift their lockdown orders, arguing that a gradual return to normal was crucial to the long-term health and stability of the U.S. economy.
Now, coronavirus infections are surging nationwide, forcing some states to shutter all over again in hopes of containing the spread of a disease that has killed over 120,000 Americans and counting.
“I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 cases a day if this does not turn around, so I am very concerned,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned at a Senate hearing on the coronavirus on Tuesday.
Officials in Arizona, Texas, Florida, South Carolina and California are reporting record numbers of new cases each day, attributing the rise mostly to young people who are ignoring safety recommendations. The situation is particularly concerning in Arizona, where health officials are reporting a surge in hospitalizations due to the virus.
The dramatic rise in infections comes on the heels of many states ― with governors of both parties ― relaxing restrictions on public gatherings and businesses like bars, gyms and salons. Republicans in particular were vocal in calling on state officials to reopen the economy in order to help struggling businesses and to get people back to work.
“Will some people be affected? Yes,” Trump told reporters at an event in May. “Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”
“Now that hopefully we’ve hit the peak ... we can think about in each of these circumstances, in each of these states, what the right set of protocols are to begin to open our economy and let people go back to work,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in April.
The Trump administration led the...