• Six northeast states are forming a council to determine the best ways to get their economies starting again
  • The governors participating in the project said it's essential they work together based on data and science to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19
  • The number of deaths nationwide topped 23,000 Monday afternoon

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is leading an effort in the Northeast to determine how the region can reopen its economy safely. Cuomo is being joined by Govs. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Ned Lamont of Connecticut, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, John Carney Jr. of Delaware and Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island – all Democrats.

The governors said in a video news release Monday they would form a council including a health expert, an economic development expert and the chiefs of staff from each of the states.

“[The] council will develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift the states’ stay-at-home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the [corona]virus,” the governors said.

“Everyone is very anxious to get out of the house, get back to work, get the economy moving. Everyone agrees with that. What the art form is going to be here is doing that smartly and doing that productively and doing that in a coordinated way,” Cuomo said.

President Trump has been pushing for the economy to reopen sooner, rather than later, with an eye on May 1, and tweeted Monday that it’s up to him, not the governors – a statement plainly rejected by the Founding Fathers and tested in subsequent court cases. All 50 states have been granted federal disaster declarations for the first time in history.

Experts warn lifting restrictions too soon will result in a resurgence in infections, which had topped 572,600 nationwide along with more than 23,000 deaths by late Monday afternoon.

“We do know this, that an economic recovery only occurs on the back of a complete healthcare recovery and that order is essential. And getting that wrong, transposing those steps or jumping in too early, or maybe jumping in by ourselves,” Murphy said, emphasizing coordination in the region based on data and science is essential.

Lamont said he has looked at the information coming out of Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, which are seeing a resurgence. He said if that happened in the New York region it “would be so demoralizing for our economy.”

Wolf said it is important to assure citizens there is a future.

“And this is as important as coming up with the specific elements of this plan. It has to be responsible but it has to show us that we do have a future. As we figure out how we are going to reopen our schools, how we reopen our businesses and our homes, we are also going to recognize that we are trying to figure out how we are going to restore the sense of hope that this pandemic has taken away from so many of us,” Wolf said.