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Trump says Fauci ‘wants to play all sides’ with reopening plan

U.S. states and cities are setting their own pace in lifting restrictions enacted to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Officials are wrestling with the dual worries of economic devastation and a public health crisis, as virus cases continue to increase and deaths nationwide surpass 83,000. Meanwhile, President Trump is expressing dissatisfaction with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Stephanie Sy reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Tensions over when and how fast to reopen dominate American life tonight.

    States and cities are setting their own pace, as they weigh two overriding factors: economic devastation and nearly 84,000 deaths in the United States and counting.

    Stephanie Sy has our lead report.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Grabbing a drink at the bar may have never felt so risky.

  • Hugh Jackson:

    We have the staff doing their thing with the cleaning. We're taking temperatures of the staff coming in. So, yes, we have taken a lot of other steps that were predictable, and we got it done.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    In places like Palm Beach, Florida, more restaurants are reopening. Other cities say they're not ready, including Washington, D.C.

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser:

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser:

    We're not there yet, and not quite ready to begin that phased new opening. So, today, we will extend the district's stay-at-home order through Monday, June the 8th.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Decisions on when to lift lockdowns and let businesses reopen are playing out nationwide, after the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagreed on when and how that should happen.

    An unreleased CDC document, obtained by the Associated Press, shows the agency called for a national guide to reopening, outlining steps that all Americans need to take in every community.

    But the White House shelved the guidance, instead leaving the process up to state and local officials. Senator Chuck Schumer called for the release of those guidelines on the Senate floor today.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

    The point is that America needs and must have the candid guidance of our best scientists, unfiltered, unedited, uncensored by President Trump or his political minions.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    President Trump spoke this afternoon with the governors of Colorado and North Dakota. It came a day after Dr. Anthony Fauci and the nation's other top health experts warned against reopening too quickly, and as Fauci drew fire from conservative circles.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Look, he wants to play all sides of the equation. I was surprised by his answer, actually, because, you know, it's just — to me, it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Meanwhile, the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, urged Washington to take more action to prevent a lasting recession today.

  • Chairman Jerome Powell:

    Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it, if it helps avoid long-term damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery.

    It'll take some time to get back to where we were. I have every reason to think we can get back there. The economy should substantially recover once the virus is under control.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Many health experts have warned the virus won't come under control until testing is more widely available.

    A new House oversight subcommittee held its first hearing today on testing and tracing the virus.

  • Ashish Jha:

    Testing is critical. Testing tells us who has the disease and who doesn't, and testing is the cornerstone of controlling every single disease outbreak. It was inadequate testing that precipitated the national shutdown.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    The U.S. has conducted more than nine million COVID tests, more than any other country, but trails other nations in per capita testing.

    Germany now tests at a similar rate to the U.S., but made testing available much earlier in the country's outbreak, avoiding a higher death rate there.

    That relative success is partly why masked passengers are checking into flights in Frankfurt once again. The German government began a gradual easing of border controls this week, aiming to open travel across the E.U. by mid-June.

    And, in Turkey, playgrounds filled with masked patrons today. After a drop in COVID cases there, the government allowed children under 14 to leave their house for four hours.

    Istanbul local Mehmet Kahraman is grateful to be outside, albeit briefly.

  • Mehmet Zafer Kahraman (through translator):

    I haven't been out in two months. They gave us permission today, but I don't know for how many hours. No need to calculate that now. We're really happy and, God willing, the coronavirus will end.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Masks over smiling faces, short moments of relief in the long-haul push to end a pandemic.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.

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