States lift restrictions gradually amid fears of new variant

By DAVID EGGERT and DON BABWIN Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Several states are loosening their coronavirus restrictions on restaurants and other businesses because of improved infection and hospitalization numbers but are moving cautiously, in part because of the more contagious variant taking hold. While the easing could cause case rates to rise, health experts say it can work if done in a measured way and if the public remains vigilant. The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. has climbed past 425,000, with the number of dead running at close to all-time highs at nearly 3,350 a day on average. But newly confirmed cases have dropped over the past two weeks.