The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the detailed guidance for reopening schools, non-essential businesses and mass transit that had been shut for weeks in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus. However, the CDC posted the guidelines on its website without making any formal announcement, which has surprised many.
The U.S. economy has finally started reopening with many states announcing that they would gradually lift the stay-at-home orders and reopen businesses. CDC's new set of guidelines to reopen the economy comes just weeks after that. The CDC has largely remained silent on the pandemic with no coronavirus-related briefings in the past two months.
CDC Outlines Three-Phased Approach
The plan by the CDC outlines a "three-phased approach" to reduce social distancing measures. It also proposes the use of six "gating" indicators. This will help in assessing when to move through another phase. The gating indicators are broad and include decreases in newly reported coronavirus cases and emergency room visits. Besides, it also includes testing programs.
The CDC also said that the reopening will be in phases although there is possibility of recrudescence in some areas. It has also recommended that schools which are currently closed should remain close in the first phase. Also, child-care programs have been asked to remain closed. Both schools and child-care can open with enhanced social distancing measures once state and local governments enter the next phase.
Putting an end to a long debate, the CDC said that bars too should remain closed, while restaurants should be limited to drive-thru, curbside pickup or delivery in the first phase before reopening with limited sitting capacity in the next phase.
CDS Guidelines Comes Late
The 60-page document uploaded on CDC's website is so far the most extensive guidance offered by the health agency, which has spent weeks embroiled in controversy over how far it should go in influencing institutions' decisions about how to open safely. Moreover, the guidelines were uploaded on the website over the weekend without any formal announcement.
The guidelines come weeks after many states announced that they would go ahead with their plans of lifting lockdowns and easing restrictions. Last month, President Donald Trump unveiled an 18-page plan for "Opening Up America Again." Much like the White House plan this plan too is a three-phased. Interestingly, the CDC has largely remained quite over the past few weeks and hasn't held any coronavirus-related briefing in over two months.