Health experts queried about Donald Trump’s plan to “reopen America” while the coronavirus pandemic is still sweeping the country were critical of the proposals saying they are vague and lacking in details — making it potentially dangerous for workers to return to their jobs.
According to a report from Politico, “President Donald Trump wants to get as many Americans back into the workplace as quickly as possible, but every metric he laid out this week for reopening the country has major flaws,” adding, “Diagnostic testing has improved, but still lags behind what most public health experts say will be needed to keep the virus at bay. Antibody testing is just beginning — and the FDA chief has warned it’s not yet very accurate. Only a few states are recruiting and training the army of public health workers who will be needed to track, trace and isolate anyone exposed to the coronavirus.”
Of particular concern is the lack of guidance for companies on how to protect their employees — or customers — when businesses reopen.
“Nobody is talking much to Americans about what the next phase of social distancing will look like — or helping businesses think through how to get up and running again while minimizing the interaction of customers and staff,” the report states before adding, “Commerce may gradually resume in communities where the spread has slowed a lot, but people will still have to limit themselves to about one-third of the social contact they had pre-pandemic, Georgia State University epidemiologist Gerardo Chowell estimates, in work being shared among some decision-makers. Many, though not all, public health experts also recommend that people wear masks. And people who can telecommute should continue to do so.”
According to Obama-era health official Andy Slavitt, Trump’s plan leaves out a lot of important information.
“It feels like they stripped out a whole lot of detail. Or really any helpful detail,” he tweeted in reference to the guidelines. “Put the burden entirely on the governors.”
“’We know testing and tracing and quarantines work from other [infectious disease] experience. And we know they work for COVID-19,’” said Caitlin Rivers, of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, stressing that moving ahead without a better sense of testing capacity creates a danger: more exponential growth of the disease,” Politico reports.
Former FDA commissioner David Kessler also urged extreme caution if the president goes ahead with his plan and states comply.
“Americans did accept social distancing. They understood it, and they did it. That’s why we can begin to talk about reopening,” Kessler explained. “But even when the ‘shelter-in-place’ is lifted, we will have to limit how much we interact with others outside our households.
Politico: Trump’s plans to reopen the country face major obstacles
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