• Report for the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommends 18 "red zone" states begin rolling back reopening amid rising cases
  • "Red zone" states are states with over 100 cases per 100,000 residents over a weeklong period
  • President Donald Trump has continued pushing for the U.S. to reopen, saying he would "pressure" states to reopen schools

An unreleased report prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended recent hotspot states should shut back down due to the rise in coronavirus cases. The report, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, listed 18 states as “red zones” for the pandemic with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people in the last week.

The report comes as President Donald Trump continues pushing states to reopen despite the surge of cases in the U.S. South and West.

“Now we're open, and we want to stay open and we will stay open,” Trump said July 2 during a White House press conference, citing the drop in unemployment. “We're not closing. We'll put out the fires as they come out.”

His recent focus has been on schools, saying the administration would pressure states to reopen schools in earnest for the 2020-21 school year.

“So we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open. And it’s very important. It’s very important for our country,” Trump said at a July 7 White House briefing. “It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.”

It was this briefing where he continued to suggest reduced testing to reduce the infection rate.

The 18 listed “red zone” states for cases are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Eleven of the states are also “red zone” states for test positivity.

The report outlines several recommended actions, including the of wearing masks in public and the closure of bars and gyms. This essentially means states would need to start rolling back reopening plans, many of which have continued despite the rise in cases.

White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx previously recommended “red zone” states halt reopening as well.

Birx recommended people in the affected areas should not only use face coverings but stop “going to bars, ... going to indoor dining, but really ... gathering in homes either. And decreasing those gatherings back down to our phase one recommendation, which was 10 or less.”

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a June 26, 2020 briefing of the US coronavirus task force, alongside top health advisor Anthony Fauci
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a June 26, 2020 briefing of the US coronavirus task force, alongside top health advisor Anthony Fauci GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / JOSHUA ROBERTS