MORE US states to ease lockdown restrictions to help unemployment despite expert warnings

The move comes as the White House forecast a staggering jump in the nation’s monthly jobless rate. Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee were set to join several other states in reopening businesses.

Tennessee has said it will allow restaurants to reopen on Monday.

Meanwhile, Mississippi’s stay-at-home order expires the same day.

Montana, which reported three new cases on Sunday, is allowing businesses to reopen Monday if they limit capacity and practice social distancing.

Minnesota is preparing for 80,000 to 100,000 workers in industrial and office jobs to return to work on Monday.

In the state of Colorado, Democratic Governor Jared Polis has given the green light for hair salons, barbershop and tattoo parlors can open on Friday, with retail stores, restaurants and movie theaters to follow.

The states planned to reopen without the means to screen for infected people who may be contagious but asymptomatic.

They are yet to have the ability for people to trace their contacts with others they might have exposed.

Health authorities have warned that testing and contact tracing must be vastly expanded before shuttered businesses can be safely reopened on a wide-scale basis.

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Many merchants have voiced their reservations about returning to work without the adequate public health measures authorities have advocated.

“I would stay home if the government encouraged that, but they’re not. They’re saying, ‘Hey, the best thing to do is go back to work, even though it might be risky,’” one business owner in Greeley, Colorado, said.

Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina have already reopened to restart their economies.

The weeks of mandatory lockdowns have thrown nearly one in six American workers out of their jobs.

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Public health authorities say increasing human interactions and economic activity without the means to do so safely will only backfire.

The authorities have said this would also spark a new surge of infections just as social-distancing measures appear to be bringing coronavirus outbreaks under control.

Medical experts say strict adherence to business closures and stay-at-home orders have worked to plateau the rates of hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units.

US President Donald Trump has been pushing for the US to find a vaccine quickly in order to save the economy.

Business shutdowns have led to a record 26.5 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits since mid-March.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted on Friday that the economy would contract at an annual rate of nearly a 40% in the second quarter.

Coronaviris has effectively wiped out the 22 million jobs created during a prolonged employment boom which began in September 2010.

This was halted in February when the disease spread into the USA.

There are now fears the pandemic could spark a bigger unemployment rate than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters on Sunday the jobless rate would likely hit 16% or more in April.

“I think the next couple of months are going to look terrible,” Hassett said.

“You’re going to see numbers as bad as anything we’ve ever seen before.”

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