As Covid-19 cases soar in states such as Arizona, Texas and Oregon, U.S. governors are again in the crucible, facing wrenching choices about how to balance economic recovery and the health of citizens.

The leaders have already begun taking divergent approaches, inflaming tensions within states as well as with neighbors. While some have paused to reassess the wisdom of allowing movement and commerce, many are plunging ahead despite daunting numbers like Florida’s 2.8% increase in reported cases Friday, its largest daily jump since May 1.

The clashes come about a month and a half after U.S. states began emerging from emergency lockdowns, and as the country surpasses 2 million confirmed infections and nearly 114,000 deaths.

“I’m worried that people have accepted where we are as a new normal. And it’s not normal,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “We can do better than this.”

“Are we resigned to losing 1,000 Americans a day until we have a vaccine?” Inglesby said. “I hope we aren’t.”

The pressure on the governors reflects the Trump administration’s approach to the pandemic, providing largely voluntary guidance and leaving states to tailor strategy to local conditions. That has produced a patchwork of policies and cleared the way to reopening of high-risk places like casinos and bars.

Indeed, President Donald Trump himself has said he plans to continue holding in-person campaign events, which typically draw thousands of supporters, despite the risk that these large gatherings pose in terms of virus transmission. The president has one event scheduled for June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On its online registration form, the Trump campaign asks prospective attendees to acknowledge the risk of virus exposure and agree not to hold the campaign liable.

White House economic aide Larry Kudlow said Friday that there is no second wave of coronavirus cases, and in several states with rising infection counts, governors have cited extenuating factors like increased testing, which simply identifies more cases.

Not so in Oregon, where Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, said Thursday that new cases -- which that day reached 178, Oregon’s highest daily count since the start of the pandemic -- were cause for concern.

Counties there must apply for permission to reopen in stages, but Brown announced that process would be put on hold for a week. She said in a statement that the pause would give “public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and determine if we need to adjust our approach.”

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