What’s it going to take to end the shutdown? 5 keys to containing coronavirus (NPR)

First things first: It’s not yet time to end social distancing and go back to work and church and concerts and handshakes.

Public health experts say social distancing appears to be working, and letting up these measures too soon could be disastrous. Until there is a sustained reduction in new cases — and the coronavirus’ spread is clearly slowing — we need to stay the course.

Still, society can’t stay shut down forever. Public health and state leaders are starting to talk about how and when to relax social distancing guidelines, and President Trump is expected to soon announce finalized guidelines to help states make those decisions. Even then, it’s clear that life won’t go back to normal all at once…

Public health leaders agree that in order to safely lift social distancing restrictions we must create and sustain systems that can rapidly stamp out any new coronavirus flare-ups so they don’t spiral out of control. Here are five key things health experts say must be addressed as we begin to start businesses and community life up again.

1. Improve rapid testing

Among public health leaders, the mantra for stopping coronavirus from surging is “test, trace and isolate.” Widespread testing with fast results is the first step — if we don’t have enough tests, we don’t know where the virus is spreading. This has been a major sticking point in the U.S. response to the coronavirus…

2. Massively upgrade contact tracing capacity

The next step in “test, trace, isolate” is “trace” — a shorthand for contact tracing

3. Create systems to isolate the sick and protect the vulnerable

Once the contacts of COVID-19 patients are traced, many will need to separate themselves from society for two weeks to be sure they are not infectious. There needs to be a support structure in place to make that possible, says Dr. Harvey Fineberg, a health policy researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Part of a complete strategy for quarantine is that you provide places apart from the home and community where those who’ve been exposed can — in a comfortable setting — spend the time of their quarantine where they are not going to infect others,” he says…

Read the full story from NPR here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/04/16/834555288/whats-it-going-to-take-to-end-the-shutdown-5-keys-to-containing-coronavirus


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here