Reopening America in three phases

Dorela Ramadani, staff writer

President Trump has announced guidelines for Opening America Again, which is a three-phase plan based on the advice of public health experts. They’re meant to get people back to work, protect lives, and reopening economies. 

Before states proceed to these phases, there are state and regional criteria. There should be a downward trajectory of influenza and COVID-like symptoms within a fourteen-day period, a downward trajectory of documented cases within a fourteen-day period, or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests taken within a fourteen-day period. Hospitals should treat all patients without crisis care and a testing program should be in place for at-risk healthcare workers.

Phase one states that all vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place and to be aware that returning to other environments could bring the virus back home. People should maximize distance from others and stay away from settings that include socializing with more than ten people. Traveling in phase one is still minimized and employers are encouraged to continue telework but to close common areas where people are sure to interact. During phase one, schools remain closed, senior living and hospitals will have prohibited visits, gyms and large venues remain open under social distancing measures, elective surgeries can continue, but bars remain closed. 

Phase two allows for non-essential travel to resume and that social settings with 50 people without proper social distancing should be avoided. Common areas are to remain closed and employers are still encouraging telework. Schools and youth activities can reopen but everything stays the same for larger venues. Bars are allowed to reopen with less room occupancy. 

Phase three is for states and regions that satisfy the criteria given and no evidence of a rebound. Vulnerable people are allowed to resume public interactions but have to continue distancing and should not expose themselves to settings that are not distancing properly. Visiting senior care and hospitals can continue in phase three, and large venues, bars, and gyms can continue to remain open. 

The White House website states that vulnerable individuals are considered the elderly, and people with serious health conditions. These health conditions include high blood pressure, lung disease, asthma, diabetes, obesity, and people whose immune systems are compromised by chemotherapy or conditions involving therapy.