State Update: Reopening Reality Check: Jobs Aren’t Flooding Back, NYC Sets Timeline to Expand Reopening, Four States Possibly Provided a Misleading Picture of Coronavirus Spread

May 21, 2020

  • Georgia’s early move to start easing stay-at-home restrictions nearly a month ago has done little to stem the state’s flood of unemployment claims — illustrating how hard it is to bring jobs back while consumers are still afraid to go outside. Weekly applications for jobless benefits have remained so elevated that Georgia now leads the country in terms of the proportion of its workforce applying for unemployment assistance. A staggering 40.3% of the state's workers — two out of every five — has filed for unemployment insurance payments since the coronavirus pandemic led to widespread shutdowns in mid-March.
  • New York City is on track to begin its phased reopening in the first half of June as the number of people admitted to the city’s hospitals and those currently in intensive-care units for COVID-19 continues to decline, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The percentage of people citywide testing positive for COVID-19 has remained below 15% for 10 days now, he said. For more than a week, the city has been around or below the annual average for people administered to the hospitals for the category of diseases related to the coronavirus, which is “very powerful,” De Blasio said. “I want to signal as clear as a bell, all roads are leading to the first half of June. The city indicators, the state indicators, we’re seeing very clear progress,” de Blasio said.
  • At least four states combined data from two different test results, potentially providing a misleading picture of when and where coronavirus spread as the nation eases restrictions. Virginia, Texas, Georgia, and Vermont have said they've been adding two numbers to their totals: viral test results and antibody test results. Viral tests are taken by nose swab or saliva sample, and look for direct evidence someone currently has COVID-19. By contrast, antibody tests use blood samples to look for biological signals that a person has been exposed to the virus in the past. Combining the two tests' results into one total could provide an inaccurate picture of where and when the virus spread.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or