By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 323,000 people worldwide.
Over 4.9 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.
Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 91,938 deaths.
Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:
4:19 a.m.: All 50 US states have now eased coronavirus restrictions
All 50 U.S. states have now taken steps to ease restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Connecticut was among the last to begin reopening its society and economy, with residents allowed to go to retail shops and dine outdoors at restaurants starting Wednesday. Hair salons and barbershops, however, won’t be allowed to reopen until June 1, while guidance on gyms, nail salons, massage therapy businesses and tattoo parlors will come at a later date.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont called it a “slow and methodical reopening.”
“There is a balance and there’s nothing that is risk-free,” Lamont said at a virtual press conference Tuesday. “I think we can proceed on a very thoughtful basis with those businesses that are least likely to be dangerous and most likely to have a real economic value for the state. And I’m looking forward, I think this is a good day for the state and I hope everybody maintains their discipline because that’s going to make it successful.”
The process hasn’t been without controversy. Earlier this month, protesters gathered outside the Connecticut state capital and the governor’s mansion in Hartford demanding that businesses be allowed to resume activities, as a growing number of other states across the country began reopening.
Connecticut, home to some 3.5 million people, has so far tested more than 185,000 people for COVID-19 and at least 38,430 have returned positive results.
At least 3,472 people in the state have died from the disease, while another 914 remained hospitalized Tuesday.
“These are trend lines that I think give us some confidence,” Lamont said. “The timing is right, and we hit the key metrics that we thought we would.”
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