May 20 Coronavirus Report: More Court-Ordered Reopenings

10 teens wearing masks. Photo by Clayton Cardinalli on Unsplash
In parts of the country, groups are limited to 10 or less and masks are required.

There were 21,100 COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. over the past 24 hours as the case count grew to 1,536,400.  This increase of 1.4 percent continues the slow and steady downhill descent of the coronavirus curve in the U.S. and seems to be working in the favor of plaintiffs who have won reopening case in Oregon and in the broader court of public opinion. 

A County Circuit Court Judge in Oregon ruled that Governor Kate Brown (D) did not have the legislature’s approval to extend the stay-home order.  The case was originally brought by a coalition of churches upset that some businesses were allowed to operate with social distancing but that churches were not.  A similar case in North Carolina blocked that states order affecting indoor religious services.

The Oregon Supreme Court however, wasted no time in issuing a stay that put the lower court’s ruling on hold. It seems this matter will now be headed to the state’s supreme court for a final decision.

Perhaps giving in to public pressure, Michigan Governor Getchen Whitmer (D) lifted her stay-home orders in northern Michigan, allowing business to reopen Friday.  Restaurants are among those business that are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity.

Cases Still Increase in Two States

While the New York Times points to nine states where the cases are increasing, our data shows North Carolina and Arizona are the only states that have not yet seen cases peak.  North Carolina says the increase in positives is the direct result of a greatly expanded testing program, which is backed up by data.  Still, the number of people in NC currently hospitalized continue to increase slowly, which shows that while their curve may have been flattened, it is not yet declining.  This is in contrast with Arizona where the number of hospitalizations appears to be holding steady.

The number of deaths in the U.S. jumped to 1,642 over the past 24 hours to a total of 91,937.  Predictions that deaths will continue their slow climb over the next month seem to have little or no impact on reducing pressure to reopen. 

Global Upticks

Globally, Johns Hopkins is reporting 93,000 more cases today than yesterday with a death toll up about 5,000 to 324,063.  The total case count of 4.927 million mean the world will probably exceed 5 million cases by this time tomorrow.

While Russian still has more cases than Brazil, cases in the South American country are growing faster.  India is still on an upward climb as well, but its case count is just under 108,000 while Russia is more than 308,000.

To put these figures into perspective, you can look back at yesterday’s report or numbers from a week ago.