Transcript for States across US ease COVID-19 restrictions
Good evening and it's great to have you with us as we start another week together here and we begin tonight with a nation exhausted by this pandemic, now beginning to move forward. New announcements today from new York to Florida, from New Jersey to California. Major steps towards reopening. The average daily number of new covid cases now below 50,000 for the first time since last fall. Amid this new debate tonight, will the U.S. Reach herd immunity or will we have to get used to this virus being around for years to come? Dr. Jha on thatn't to. But today, some encouraging in New York City, some 80,000 city workers called back to the office. New York's governor lifting many restrictions by may 19th, including the subway, which will be back up and running 24/7 even before that. There is still a push tonight to reach those who haven't been vaccinated yet. Demand plunging 22% in just three weeks. 145,346,000 have now received at least one dose. That's 56% of all adults. Meantime, authorities here in the U.S. Monitoring the worsening situation in India. The horrific images from inside the hospitals there. The U.S. Will restrict travel from India. That travel ban begins in just hours. Their emergency fueled by the uk variant and a new variant emerging in India. And we ask Dr. Jha about that tonight. Will the vaccines being used here be effective against that concerning new variant? We have it all covered tonight for you and we begin here with ABC's Eva pilgrim leading us off from New York. 4 Reporter: Tonight, with coronavirus cases dropping under 50,000 for the first time since October, from coast to coast, Americans are getting back to work. In San Francisco, staffers welcoming the public back as the city's library reopened its doors. In New York City, 80,000 government workers today returning to their offices. We're ready. We're ready. We're ready. Reporter: The state of New York announcing a full reopening for most businesses on may 19th, with subway trains running 24/7. The subway's my concern. Closeness, close quarters, overcrowding. Reporter: Some are calling for safer workspaces and more vaccinations first. We are still in a pandemic and public health crisis despite what the mayor says. I would feel more comfortable knowing everybody had been vaccinated. Reporter: Across the river, New Jersey now dropping many of its restrictions on may 19th, too. This means that the events that we all associate with a summer, from fireworks displays to parades to the state fair, can all go forward as long as attendees are keeping six feet of distance. Reporter: But Florida going further today, suspending all covid public health orders. The fact is, we are no longer in a state of emergency. Reporter: More than 30% of Americans are fully vaccinated, but demand for vaccines has a nearly 26% drop in the last three weeks. I do think we can hit herd immunity. We think about probably 80%, 85% of people will need to ultimately get vaccinated in order to have herd immunity. I think that is possible. Reporter: Vaccinations critical as new outbreaks pop up in the pacific northwest and variants spreading fast in India. The 617 has already been identified in three states. Starting tomorrow, the U.S. Banning travel from India by non-u.s. Citizens. All the data suggests our vaccines are going to hold up against the variant from India, the 617 variant. Let's hope so. We'll continue to watch that. Eva pilgrim with us tonight. And Eva, that growing debate about whether the U.S. Will ever reach herd immunity, we heard Dr. Jha say there we have to hit 80 % to 85% of the population vaccinated in this country to get there and we're at about 40% fully vaccinated when it comes to adults. He believes we can still get there? Reporter: Yes, David. He still thinks it's possible. But even if we can't reach that magic number, bottom line, he thinks if we can get enough Americans vaccinated, we can get this virus under control and get our lives back to normal. All right, Eva pilgrim leading us off on a Monday night. Eva, thank you.
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