The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines late Wednesday night allowing employees to return to work if they have been exposed to coronavirus and are asymptomatic.
President Donald Trump celebrated the news after previously predicting the country would return to work by Easter.
Earlier in the day Trump tweeted:
"Once we OPEN UP OUR GREAT COUNTRY, and it will be sooner rather than later, the horror of the Invisible Enemy, except for those that sadly lost a family member or friend, must be quickly forgotten. Our Economy will BOOM, perhaps like never before!!!"
The new CDC guideline is the first step towards reopening the U.S. after weeks of lockdowns and quarantines that led to 10 million workers losing their jobs.
The CDC specified that "essential workers" in such fields as healthcare or grocery stores, can return to work if they were exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic.
The virus causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms in most healthy adults. About 80% of those infected show no symptoms.
COVID-19 can cause a rare fatal pneumonia among elderly people or people with chronic illnesses (heart disease or respiratory problems such as asthma, diabetes).
Employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic must wear face masks at all times and continue to practice social distancing when applicable at work.
The CDC has been criticized for predicting unrealistic death rates based on flawed statistical models.
In an effort to raise the death toll to match their flawed predictions, the CDC instructed hospitals and funeral homes to classify every death as COVID-related if the deceased tested positive for coronavirus before they died. Even deaths at home are added to the tally.