Gov. hopes to begin reopening in May, new data from IHME disagrees

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While Governor Kevin Stitt has said the state could slowly start reopening sometime in May, a new model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows a date of June 8th or later for Oklahoma.

“We’re seeing states where they really shouldn’t be thinking about relaxing social distancing right out into mid-June,” Dr. Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said on CNN Friday. “Some of the states where there are big epidemics unfolding, like South Dakota or Oklahoma, not so big but in terms of the time course.”

Dr. Murray spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about a new IHME model released Friday, showing a map of all 50 states.  

Oklahoma is one of the states shaded in dark green on the map, with a suggested reopening date, or date to “ease social distancing,” of June 8th or later. 

States in a lighter shade of green are said to have instituted robust containment strategies. 

“There are two factors that are going into this, which is how quickly are we going to come off the peak and get cases down to a low level and then how quickly can the state build up their testing capacity and contact tracing capacity so that they can manage reasonable numbers,” Dr. Murray said. 

On Friday at a press conference, Gov. Stitt talked about slowly reopening the state in May. 

KFOR contacted Stitt’s office on Monday, asking if he’s seen the new IHME map and they sent us the following statement: 

“My administration remains committed to the health and safety of all Oklahomans. We are focused on continuing to expand and improve testing and tracing in Oklahoma, and we are actively relying on the scientific data in our state and White House guidelines in order to best determine when to allow our businesses and organizations to safely reopen.”

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