By Jon Dougherty @TheNatSent
(TNS) As anxious Americans enter into a month of government-imposed isolation, millions have lost jobs and have seen their lives turned upside down by coronavirus.
And now, as we near a month of social-distancing restrictions and business closures, many have begun to ask: When does it all end?
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How does it all end?
A group of experts has provided some answers to those questions — four of them, in fact — though it must be said that they are not members of Trump administration.
The UK Daily Mail reports:
Rather than pick dates from the calendar for when the US should reopen, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb and his team of experts put together a report indicating what milestones US states need to hit that will indicate it’s time for life to resume normalcy.
One thing the team insists on: The US must open on a state-by-state basis.
There is no one date that fits all states for returning to some semblance of standard operation.
States’ rates of coronavirus cases and spread vary wildly, and why some states may be nearing the apexes of their coronavirus epidemics, the crisis has only just begun in others.
Here are the four requirements:
— Hospitals must be able to safely treat all patients who must be hospitalized.
Right now, in many parts of the country, hospitals are anywhere from one-third to three-quarters empty because they have discharged as many as possible to make room while halting elective and non-essential surgeries. So they won’t have any trouble meeting this objective because they are obviously located in regions where there aren’t many coronavirus patients needing to be hospitalized.
And there is this: The models predicting massive numbers of hospital beds required to treat all of the expected virus patients have been wildly overexaggerated.
— 14 days of falling coronavirus infection numbers.
The Daily Mail notes: Fourteen is a crucial number in the coronavirus pandemic, because that’s about how long scientists estimate the virus can lie dormant without triggering symptoms.
“To guard against the risk that large outbreaks or epidemic spread could reignite once we lift our initial efforts to “slow the spread,” the trigger for a move to Phase II’ - a gradual return to normal life - ‘should be when a state reports a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days,” Gottlieb and his colleagues write.
Cases are declining at the virus epicenter — New York City — but they are rising elsewhere.
— States need to be able to test everyone who has symptoms.
The president said this week that “millions” of new tests are being made available and that there will be plenty by mid-month.
As of Tuesday, some 1.6 million Americans in total have been tested for coronavirus.
“We estimate that a national capacity of at least 750,000 tests per week would be sufficient to move to case-based interventions when paired with sufficient capacity in supportive public-health infrastructure (e.g., contact tracing),” said Gottlieb’s team.
— States must be able to sufficiently monitor confirmed COVID-19 cases.
This may be the most difficult of the requirements — but also one of the most unnecessary.
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Yes, infected persons can infect others, especially vulnerable populations. But self-isolation is the best remedy, and states will likely never have all of the resources needed to monitor every one of their citizens.
Time will tell. Trump wants America reopened ASAP. It needs to be.
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