As more states reopen, the previous strategy by health officials to contain and eliminate the coronavirus has shifted into a more defensive mode. Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and the former health commissioner for Boston, said that America's strategy now prioritizes finding ways to reduce infection risks.
"We had a strategy before that we would reduce the number of infections and at the same time build up our capabilities to do testing, tracing, and isolation," she told CNN Thursday. But the expert said that we are reopening before these capabilities are in place so we must switch "to a new phase."
According to Wen, the new strategy includes social distancing, avoiding unnecessary gatherings, changing ventilation systems, and spending more time outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted six, one-page decision trees on its website Thursday with questions and some guidance about how to reopen businesses, communities, schools, camps, daycare centers, and mass transit.
"The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making reopening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers," reads the workplace decision tree.
According to CNN, former CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser criticized the new directives, saying they weren't specific enough and not what he expected to see.
"What we worked on was presenting the best scientific evidence in extreme detail so that they could be applied in a way that you knew exactly what you needed to do," he told CNN. An example would be advising restaurants on the safe spacing of tables to prevent the spread of the virus.
Experts say that with the right measures in place, as proven by South Korea and Singapore, countries can successfully contain the virus and avoid going back and forth between a lockdown and lifting restrictions. These nations relied on social distancing, widespread testing, and contact tracing to contain new outbreaks, according to Time.
Time noted that the U.S. needs to follow strict reopening procedures to avoid seeing the death toll caused by the virus reach 3,000 a day.
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