After Donald Trump announced his new task force dedicated to reopening the U.S. economy shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic yesterday, a leaked draft of a report compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrates the inherent risk in the president’s rush to try to return to a thriving economic past that has turned to sand slipping through his grasping little fingers.
According to an account in The Washington Post, the national strategy for a phased reopening of the nation drafted by FEMA and the CDC notes that even the most carefully staged and gradual reversal of quarantine orders in orderly phases “will entail a significant risk of resurgence of the virus.”
The leaked internal document warns of a “large rebound curve” of COVID-19 cases if social distancing and stay at home orders are eased prematurely before specific anti-viral vaccines are invented and administered to the public or before widespread “herd immunity” is reached.
Unlike the vague and scientifically-suspect criteria to lift the anti-contagion measures that Donald Trump has been referencing at his daily press briefings, the report details exactly the conditions that need to be met before any area can consider a less risky return to responsible social commingling.
According to The Washington Post‘s account, these include:
“A ‘genuinely low’ number of cases; a ‘well functioning’ monitoring system capable of ‘promptly detecting’ spikes of infections; a public health system able to react robustly to new cases and local health systems that have enough inpatient beds to rapidly scale up in the event of a surge in cases.”
The criteria in the draft strategy would require a massive increase in both testing capabilities and the manufacture of personal protective gear than is currently in place.
The CDC is also recommending the creation of a COVID-19 Response Corps to help state and local health departments quickly begin large contact tracing to ensure that anyone who has had contact with an infected person can remain in isolation to prevent further spread of the virus, among other measures.
Despite the clear recommendations in the unfinalized report, there is no guarantee that the president will adhere to its conclusions since Trump is expected to also rely heavily on the feedback from his business task force whose mandate is to reopen the economy as soon as feasible.
Many health experts are concerned that economic concerns will outweigh the public health imperatives as the president considers how the plummeting economy will affect his reelection chances and the historical legacy of being remembered as the Herbert Hoover of the 21st century.
You can read a summary of the detailed recommendations contained in the joint CDC/FEMA report in the original Washington Post article here.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.