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The Post  
President Donald Trump Announces 'Guidelines - Opening Up America Again' for State Governors
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 04/16/20 10:15 pm | updated: 04/16/20 10:15 pm
President Donald Trump unveiled a three phase road map for governors on Thursday, 4/16, aimed at easing our nation back to normal activity after the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. The plan, called 'Guidelines - Opening Up America Again,' is predicated upon locales continuing to meeting certain measurable 'gating criteria' before moving on to the next phase. Some places in the country will be able to reach those milestones sooner than others, depending on the extent of the epidemic in those locations. For instance, Montana is probably closer to starting Phase One than New York. Trump told governors that the guidelines are for each state or even individual counties to follow and decide for themselves how and when they should progress. "You're going to call your own shots," he said on a phone call. "We're going to be standing alongside of you."

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator explained the guidelines at a press conference. This is not a light switch process and even the end result is not a complete return to normal. It will take some time to complete the three phases, even in the most positive case. Good hygiene should be continued throughout the phases. Stay home if sick. States should continue to test and contact trace individuals and be prepared for any rebounds. Heath care officials will need to closely monitor symptom trends of patients and identify any resurgence of the virus.

The gating criteria emphasize a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses, covid-like syndromic cases, and documented cases or positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day window. Hospitals must also be able to treat all patients without crisis care and have a robust testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers. If a locale can meet this gating criteria they can move to Phase One. The locale then has to meet that criteria again over the next 14 days without a rebound to move to Phase Two and then a third time to enter Phase Three. That would be a month and half at the swiftest.

Each phase get progressively less stringent on restrictions for travel, gathering, social distancing, working from home, etc. Phase One looks very similar to what we are doing currently in terms of strict mitigation. Phase Two would allow for gatherings of 50, non-essential travel, schools, gyms, restaurants, and bars open. Phase Three says that vulnerable individuals can leave home, allows unrestricted staffing at employers, and large venues can operate under limited physical distancing protocols. The phases have guidelines for individuals and employers.

Delaware Governor John Carney said, "We're days, maybe weeks away from the starting line and then you have to have 14 days of declining cases, of declining symptoms and hospital capacity that exists in case you have a rebound," he said. "We're nowhere ready to get on the starting line in terms of the three phases of the recovery."

"The immediate thought was a positive one in that the president had kind of backed off the fact that he had total control and deciding when states should come back online, bring their economies back online," Carney said. "Every state is a little bit different and I think each governor knows their state better than the task force in Washington, D.C. So that was a good start."

SEE THE GUIDELINES: Guidelines - Opening Up America Again

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