COVID 19: Re-open vs stay home and safe

There’s been a lot of talk about lifting restrictions, I think it’s important to point out that these policies are primarily economically driven. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just important to be aware of the difference between a medical recommendation and an economic one. I want to encourage anyone who is high risk to continue to follow Covid 19 guidelines to stay safe, and to stay in touch with your healthcare professionals.

The Plan

The president outlined three phases of reopening. Currently, we are in the first phase. The bottom line is, people who are high risk may not be safe to change their behavior until well after the third phase.

Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phase gradual reopening of businesses and schools.

Phase 1 – strict social distancing for all people in public. Gatherings larger than 10 people are to be avoided and nonessential travel is discouraged.

Phase 2 – people should continue to maximize social distancing and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people unless precautionary measures are taken. Travel could resume.

Phase 3 – gradual return to normalcy for most Americans, with a focus on identification and isolation of any new infections.

The guidelines also include general recommendations to businesses as they plan for potential re-openings, suggesting temperature-taking, rapid COVID-19 testing and widespread disinfection efforts in workplaces.

Those most susceptible to the respiratory disease are advised to remain sheltered in place until their area enters the final phase — and even then are encouraged to take precautions to avoid close contact with other people.

The White House proposal differs from the original draft recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommended more specific criteria and improvement over longer periods of time before easing restrictions in high-transmission areas, (for example, sustained reductions over 30 days in positive tests for coronavirus, and sustained reductions over 15 days in numbers of coronavirus deaths).

There are many medical experts who feel that the current plan risks unnecessary infections and potential loss of life. Shortages and quality control issues with test kits remain a significant problem. Dr. Marc Lipsitch, a Harvard epidemiology professor and director of the university’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, expresses the difficulties with a plan that requires knowing when and where infections are declining, when the prerequisite “strong testing” has not been implemented. Dr. Lipsitch recommends “working to enhance surveillance and testing so if we do hit a peak, it will be possible to identify it with greater certainty. I would not declare a peak almost anywhere in the U.S. yet.” (April 16, 2020. Trump Gives Goveners 3-Phase Plan To Reopen Economy, Z Miller, A Suderman, and K Freking).

It is important to keep in mind that this is an economic reopening plan. High risk people should continue to exercise caution and stay as safe as possible. _______________________________________________________________________

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