Although, nearly every public official, as well as citizen, would want to reopen the economy, there is a significant difference of opinion, as to when to do so, how to proceed, and what should determine, when it’s an appropriate time! Instead of proceeding, based on fear, and/ or, any personal/ political agenda, or self – interest, wouldn’t it be better, and smarter, if such a significant decision, was made, based on public health expert recommendations, in order to ensure, the finest, smartest, short – term, as well as sustainable, longer – term strategy. Despite the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control, President Donald Trump, appears to believe he’s the smartest one, in the room, and has articulated a message, proclaiming we should open up the American economy, despite the potential risks, etc. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, 5 key metrics, which should be met, and/ or, exceeded, prior to taking this step.
1. Sufficient hospital bed capacity: In order to ensure we are prepared, far better, in the future, it’s important to be certain, available hospital bed capacity, exceeds usage, and the experts recommend, before reopening, each area should use no more than 70% of that capacity.
2. Sufficient ICU bed capacity: We must pay attention, to the fact, during a pandemic, or health crisis, of any sort, the Intensive Care Units, are stressed, significantly. Smart policy states these units should follow similar guidelines, as above, and should not exceed more than 70% of capacity.
3. Tests/ testing: Despite the statements made by this President, stating, increased testing, may not be desirable, because it will make us look bad, because the more the tests, the worse it appears, in terms of the overall infection rate, quality public health policy should be, to ensure, not only sufficient numbers of tests, but reliable ones, with fewer false negatives. Trump’s attitude appears politically motivated, rather than, in the best interests of the greater good! Many experts claim, each region should perform 30 tests for every thousand residents, which most of the politicians, seem to not have the courage to demand. We, in New York, are fortunate, Governor Cuomo realizes science and data matters!
4. Tracers: The only way to efficiently limit and control the spread of any disease, especially one of the proportions of this pandemic, there must be a way, to track, and trace contacts, in an efficient, effective manner! To do so, the rate of coverage, must meet or exceed, 30 per 100, 000 population.
5. Consider, and continue reviewing the rate of infection: In order to ensure smart, public health policy, after reopening, and before proceeding forward, it’s important to be certain, the infection rate remains below 1.1. Unfortunately, too many public officials, seem too concerned with politics, and perceived, populism, than quality, sustainable, safe policy!
Wake up, America, and realize, while we all want to go back to what, we considered, normal, simply reverting to the same – old, same – old, rather than installing, a well – considered, new norm, the ramifications will, potentially, be dire! Wear a mask, because it’s better than the probable alternative, for far too many people!