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More states plan to relax coronavirus restrictions amid tense debate

Barber and owner of Chris Edwards, left, wears a mask and cuts the hair of customer at Peachtree Battle Barber Shop in Atlanta on Friday, April 24, 2020. The first phase of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's plan to reopen Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic included haircut shops and gyms, though not all chose to open their doors. (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

(CNN) — Several states are reopening from coronavirus shutdowns this week despite the recommendations of health researchers.

Colorado, Minnesota and Montana plan to ease social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions.

Iowa will allow elective surgeries to resume and farmers markets to reopen starting Monday.

Tennessee restaurants can welcome customers at 50% capacity, and retail stores can reopen under those same guidelines Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said.

Such reopenings go against against a University of Washington model suggesting that no state should open their economies before May 1 — and many should wait much longer. The university’s modeling has been frequently cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Across the US, coronavirus has killed more than 53,900 people, and more than 939,000 have been infected.

But some states have already started reopening. Hawaii has reopened beaches for visitors to fish and exercise, but loitering will not be allowed, Gov. David Ige said Saturday.

Texas allowed retail stores to start making curbside sales Friday.

Michigan now allows businesses like landscapers, plant nurseries and bike repair shops to reopen as long as they follow social distancing guidelines.

And Alaska has allowed many salons and restaurants to open, though they can’t exceed 25% capacity.

Georgia allowed some businesses to reopen with certain guidelines Friday, including places where clients or workers are in close proximity such as barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and bowling alleys.

In Oklahoma, salons, barbershops, spas and pet groomers took appointments Friday, and some state parks and outdoor recreation areas also reopened.

Mayors call for more caution

But some mayors say their cities shouldn’t reopen yet because a surge in coronavirus cases would set the economy back further.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted a chart Saturday showing the numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in the area.

“If you’re getting your nails done right now, please share these noon numbers with your manicurist #StayHomeGeorgia,” the mayor tweeted.

In the nearby suburb of Brookhaven, Mayor John Ernst said he would rather nonessential businesses wait until Georgia reaches a 14-day downward trend in cases.

“Even the (business owners) who open up say, ‘I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing,’” Ernst said.

In California, while surrounding counties opened their beaches for the weekend, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would not follow suit. He urged residents to stay inside.

“We can’t let one weekend reverse a month of work that you have invested in,” he said.

In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis announced he is letting stay-at-home orders expire this week — but urged residents to stay home “as much as possible.”

But in the state’s biggest city, nothing will change, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said.

“Stay in place and know that none of the locations that were closed during the order will open up,” Hancock said.

Fauci says ‘we’re not there yet’ with testing

A key component to safely reopening the economy is adequate levels of testing, health officials have said.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, says the US should double the number of diagnostic testing for coronavirus over the next several weeks.

“We’re getting better and better at it as the weeks go by, but we are not in a situation where we say we’re exactly where we want to be with regard to testing,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“I think we’re going to get there, but we’re not there yet.”

Fauci said the US needs to “have enough tests to respond to the outbreaks that will inevitably occur as you try and ease your way back into the different phases.”

But it’s not just testing the US needs more of, Fauci said. Contact tracing, identification and isolation of those infected are also key to helping slow the outbreak.

First known American to die from Covid-19 suffered heart rupture

Patricia Dowd, the first known person to die from Covid-19 in the US, suffered a heart rupture caused by the disease, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which obtained a copy of the autopsy report.

Dowd, 57, died February 6. The California woman had not traveled anywhere with a high transmission of the coronavirus prior to her death.

That means coronavirus must have been circulating at least two to three weeks before her death, said Dr. Sara Cody, director of Santa Clara County’s Department of Public Health.

CNN has reached out to the Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office for an independent copy of the autopsy report.

Antibodies don’t necessarily lead to long-term immunity

The World Health Organization said it’s too early to tell if those who have recovered from coronavirus are immune from a second infection.

WHO said it is reviewing evidence on antibody responses to the novel coronavirus. A scientific brief says “most” studies show that people who have “recovered from infection have antibodies to the virus.”

But as of Friday, no study has “evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to (the virus) confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans,” the WHO brief says.

WHO later tweeted a clarification: “We expect that most people who are infected with #COVID19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection.”

But it’s not clear how long antibodies might protect against subsequent infection, said Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The US Food and Drug Administration has now authorized three new coronavirus antibody tests, bringing the total number of FDA-authorized tests to seven.

The tests were approved under emergency-use authorizations, a lower regulatory standard used when the FDA believes a test’s benefits could outweigh any risks.