Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the United States has recently reported 24,104 new COVID-19 cases in a single day. According to reports, US reported 1,299 more coronavirus deaths on May 22. The country has so far reported 1,601,434 positive coronavirus cases, the highest in the world, and the overall death toll at 96,001.
As per reports, despite the rising number of cases and deaths in the US, President Donald Trump on May 22 declared houses of worship 'essential' to American life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump alleged that some governors have considered liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but left places of faith.
“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, this weekend,” Trump said during his short briefing at the White House.
"Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship, it's not right. So I'm correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now", Trump said.
Trump further said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue guidance to houses of worship on safely reopening. According to reports, his top advisers reportedly blocked the CDC from issuing guidance earlier, worrying it was too prescriptive of religious institutions.
Meanwhile, the CDC issued fresh guidance on Friday after Trump's statement. The new guidelines recommended the churches to limit the size of gatherings, maintain distance between parishioners and to encourage all its members to wear face coverings. However, it also emphasised that the guidance is "non-binding" and "for consideration only".
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, supporting the president's decision to reopen churches, said: "It is safe to reopen your churches if you do so in accordance with the guidelines which are laid out".
"Very stringent detail here about promoting hygiene practices. And there are five bullet points and cloth face coverings. If social distancing is not possible, it's recommended intensifying cleanings, promoting social distance. We lay them out meticulously", said McEnany.
(Representative Image) (Image Credit AP)