All over the world, countries are ensuring lock down restrictions as a measure to combat COVID-19. Expert health scientists are saying that the pandemic can take a lot of time to be controlled. WHO’s chief scientist said that it can take 4-5 years to control the spread of the virus as if the vaccine is produced earlier, the provision of the vaccine at a global level will still be a challenge. Because of the economic conditions, everything, or at least the vital things, has to be reopened as it can’t be closed for 5 years or so. Before easing the lock down restrictions, it is necessary to take safety measures and train people to avoid and fight the pandemic.
The US department for control of diseases, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), has released guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting in order to reopen. The CDC released a 60-paged document on May 7. which guides how to ensure safety for reopening of school, restaurants, and other areas of life.
Also CDC updated the details, based on observation and analysis, about how the virus is spread. At first, it was thought that the SARS-CoV-2 can be spread by touching the surfaces which are frequently used by many people like doorknobs of busy malls and banks, cash and packages and then touching their face or mouth.
“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus,” says the CDC official website.
But now CDC told about new ways of spreading of the virus. The CDC site says that the virus can be spread by the respiratory droplets and people which are closer than 6 feet, can catch these droplets. These droplets land in mouth or nose and reach the lungs.
Requirements for reopening:
The first step CDC is recommending, is rapid testing on large scale. This will help in controlling the spread of the virus as the people who test positive for COVID-19 will be sent to the hospitals for treatment and they will no more spread the virus.
For testing CDC has the following plan. The first priority of CDC is the hospitalized patients which have symptoms of coronavirus, second priority is the health care workers who have symptoms of the virus. Third is the residents who have some symptoms of the virus.
After these, the people who have minor symptoms like cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle, chills pain, vomiting, new loss of taste or smell or diarrhea etc. However, if possible, everybody is to be tested because everyone is a suspected patient, as the presence of the virus in a body may go unnoticed for more than a week. This is the strategy of CDC about testing the people to avoid the spread of the virus.
Currently, the administration is considering reopening schools, mainly. To make the testing easier and efficient CDC suggests taking the following steps:
- Working with federal government partners to provide a wide range of technical assistance resources to each state to help them develop a state-specific testing plan that meets their unique needs.
- Equipping state public health laboratories with sufficient quantities of devices, reagents, and testing supplies in the International Reagent Resource (IRR).
- Working with the White House Coronavirus Task Force to enhance the national supply of reagents and testing supplies so that the commercial market is able to supply state efforts. This supply should be sufficient to achieve a rate of less than 10% positive tests for COVID-19 among symptomatic, asymptomatic, and pre-symptomatic individuals.
REOPENING OF SCHOOLS:
The schools are to be reopened only if they can take the measurements that CDC has recommended. The CDC advised the teachers and the students to wear face mask. The students have to sit 6 feet apart from each other. In addition CDC advised to close playgrounds and cafeterias. The students should eat in their classroom in disposable utensils.
The students should not share their school supplies and avoid group gatherings. The field trips and class outgoings should also be canceled, CDC recommended. The CDC also advised the schools to conduct daily health checkup of the teachers as well as the students. If any student or teacher has any symptoms or is affected by the virus, they should be given leave and to do so, the schools should revise their absentee terms and conditions. The CDC asked not to give punctuality awards by the pandemic.
The CDC asks that teachers should educate students about the importance of safety measures for the pandemic like handwashing, face masks and good hygiene.
CDC says that schools should only be opened if they can perform the above things. Otherwise, they should remain closed.
REOPENING OF RESTAURANTS AND BARS:
CDC also gave guidelines about reopening of bars and restaurants. There are three key points for reopening Bars and restaurants.
First, CDC recommends the bars to remain closed and restaurants to limit their services to drive-through, curbside pickup, or delivery.
Second, allow bars and restaurant to open with limited seating capacity keeping in view the social distancing. Seating outdoors should be encouraged.
The third is to allow restaurants and bars to use standing rooms, as long as social distancing can be practiced.
The most important thing is that all the items which are shared, for example restaurant’s menu, utensils and other stuff like such, should not be used. Instead, disposable utensils, menu and other things should be used. Payment either in form of Cash or credit card should be handed over using a tray.
If the bars and restaurants can’t practice these safety measures, they are not allowed to be opened.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The situation is very critical as the health system is already lacking in meeting the needs. For sure, easing restrictions will increase the number of COVID-19 patients but current economic crisis is forcing the government to take these risky steps. The rates of unemployment have increased tremendously.
Trump administration is considering reopening the country and continue the normal functioning of industries and other areas but Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, key member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, is extremely against this all. “There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control, which in fact, paradoxically will set you back,” he said.
President Trump, on a visit to Honeywell Factory that makes N95 masks, said “I’m not saying anything is perfect, and yes, will some people be affected, yes, will some people be affected badly—yes, but we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”
Until now, there are 1,686,436 cases in US alone. Only 451,702 have recovered while 99,300 died. The situation is very critical. The experts are right as reopening can cause a second wave which will be very dangerous and many more people will die. Experts predict that the worst is yet to come.