But as states try to balance saving lives and saving livelihoods, experts say some arguments for reopening the economy are now short-term or flawed. Here are some examples:
ARGUMENT: Keep the elderly at home, but let young or healthy people go back to work
Even young people who are otherwise healthy may suffer serious complications. Their strong immune system can overreact to the virus, a phenomenon doctors call cytokine storms.
"I just want to make sure everyone knows that no matter what their age, it can seriously affect them. And it can seriously mess them up, as if it messed me up," said Dimitri Mitchell, 18.
The teenager in Iowa said he may have gotten the virus while working in a grocery store. His condition worsened so badly, he needed to be hospitalized. The mother said she worried that he could "fall asleep and never wake up."
"I just hope everyone is responsible, because there's nothing to joke about," the teenager said. "I want everyone to make sure they follow social distance guidelines and group boundaries. And just listen to all the rules and precautions and stay up to date on the news and make sure they are informed."
ARGUMENT: We did not close the economy for SARS or swine flu
Unlike SARS and swine flu, the new coronavirus is both highly contagious and especially deadly, said CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
"SARS was also a coronavirus, and it was a new virus at that time," Gupta said. "In the end, we know that SARS ended up infecting 8,000 people worldwide and causing about 800 deaths. So very high mortality rates, but it didn't turn out to be very contagious."
The swine flu, or H1N1, "was very contagious and infected about 60 million people in the United States alone in a year," Gupta said. "But it was far less deadly than the flu itself – as 1/3 as deadly as the flu."
What makes the novel coronavirus different is that "this is very contagious … and it appears to be far more deadly than the flu," Gupta said. "So both of those things … are why we take this so seriously."
It is impossible to find the exact death rate for Covid-19. On the one hand, the death rate can be much lower if many survivors were never tested.
ARGUMENT: Influenza kills more people every year, and we do not shut down the economy
In fact, coronavirus has killed more people in three months than the flu in six months.
If 62,000 people died from flu between October 1 and April 4, according to the CDC's advanced estimate, that means the United States had an average of about 331 flu deaths one day.
Then from February 6th to On April 30, an average of more than 739 people per day died of coronavirus in the United States.
ARGUMENT: Just let everyone get herd immunity in the natural way
It's a "dangerous calculation," said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's health care program.
Herd immunity occurs when the majority of a certain population – typically 70% to 90% – becomes immune to a disease, either because they have already been infected or because they have been vaccinated.
At that point, the disease is less likely to affect people who are not immune because there are not enough infectious carriers to reach them.
But many doctors say it is a terrible idea to lift all restrictions and allow the coronavirus to spread rampantly.
First, hospitals are likely to be overwhelmed, and this results in the health of coronavirus patients as well as non-coronavirus patients.
"The benefit of stretching the number of cases is that we do not want to exceed the capacity of hospitals to care for those who are particularly ill," said Dr. H. Cody Meissner, director of infectious diseases in children at Tufts University Medical School.
"This idea that … so what if we lose a few old people along the way? This is a really dangerous, dangerous calculation," Ryan said.
ARGUMENT: Cases continue to increase, so social distancing doesn't help
"The ultimate goal is to keep the basic reproduction number below 1," Gu said.
A reproduction number below 1 means that fewer and fewer people will be infected and the virus will start to fade away. But a rate of more than 1 means the outbreak will get worse and spread exponentially.
"If a state can keep the R level below 1, their number will continue to decline."
What happens after the state reopens is likely to depend on how quickly the virus spread just before.
"If your R value is 0.95, you are unlikely to be able to maintain a value below 1 after you open again," Gu said.
But states that had much better R-values will have more leeway, even though more people are exposed to the virus in public.
"If you go from 0.8 to 0.9, you will still reduce" the total spread, Gu said.
Each person can also help control the results as states begin to reopen.