Same Pandemic, Different Reopening Plans

COVID-19 has affected every country in the world and some were affected more than others. The United States is definitely one of these ones as 26 % of the confirmed in the world are from here.

How much the pandemic spread among states and communities is also not even. The Farm’s home New York is the center of the pandemic in the United States as 16 % of the confirmed cases are from here. States including California (7.8 %),  New Jersey (6.9 %), and Illinois (5.4 %) are following up. An exhaustive list of preventive measures, up-to-date data, and relevant news can be found from Google’s special COVID-19 alert.

There is no national action plan for reopening businesses post-COVID 19. The process is entirely left to states and all 50 states have their own agenda with reopening times, how they are doing this, and what measures will be taken for the future. 

New York state has a 7-metric system that needs to be upheld before reopening businesses in a region. These metrics focus on monitoring new infections, healthcare, diagnostic testing contact tracing capacity.

A decline in hospitalization and death must occur before moving onto any other metric. These metrics are calculated on a three-day rolling average over a 14-day period.  The third metric focuses on new cases. Measured on a three-day rolling average, if a region has less than 2 new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, the region can now focus on its healthcare capacity.

The next set of metrics are set in motion for a possible second wave. Healthcare institutions need to have at least 30 % of their total hospital beds and 30 % ICU beds available. Additionally, a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all healthcare staff.

In order to trace and control the current cases, if a region wants to reopen, it needs to achieve 30 tests per 1,000 people per month and keep track of COVID-19 positive cases with the necessary quarantine procedures. Due to these metrics and their implementation, Governor Cuomo stated that New York has, now, flattened the curve.

On the other coast, California’s reopening process consists of four stages. The first stage is for everybody to stay home unless they are in an essential workforce. The second stage and third stages are reopening lower-risk and higher-risk workplaces, respectively. The fourth stage is ending the stay-at-home order. Recently, the state of California moved to Stage 3; however individual counties can decide on their own speed for adaptation so, therefore, there are many counties that are on Stage 2.  If cases start to spike, the state can decide to go back in stages and impose shelter-in-place restrictions.

California’s stage system, compared to New York's metric system, is a bit more big-picture focused and superficial. This way, each county has its own decision-making process when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. We should keep in mind that, according to publicly available COVID- 19 data, in the last 60 days confirmed cases are rising in California.

Much like New York, New Jersey also adopted a “phase” plan for reopening businesses after COVID-19. Due to having less confirmed cases than New York, New Jersey is faster on embracing reopening. According to Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey has flattened the curve and is ready to resume activities depending on the risk and challenges they pose for public health.

The United States was hit the hardest by COVID-19 and within the country, these were the states which took the biggest hit. It is no wonder why it happened as California is the most populous state in the United States. On the other hand, New York is the world capital of finance, business, and travel, therefore, making it the ideal spot for virus spread. New Jersey, the neighboring state of New York, is the most densely populated state in the United States. Once the outbreak occurred in New York, it was expected it to spread New Jersey.

Author:

@Alara

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