The ideas and criteria of the guidelines are not new; parts of it were incorporated into earlier plans by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former chief of the Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Tom Frieden, former chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But those plans were conservative, saying states could reopen once they had robust testing capacity, enough equipment to protect healthcare workers, and the means to contact anyone exposed to the virus to ask them to isolate, a process called contact tracing.
Reopening before these problems are resolved, however, may endanger the few places that have successfully dodged the virus, and would be accompanied by important scientific concerns:
The tests are still irregular. Most of the country does not do enough testing to track the virus in a way that would allow Americans to return to work safely. Without widespread testing and surveillance, said Angela Rasmussen, virologist at Columbia University in New York, “we will not be able to quickly identify and isolate cases in which patients are presymptomatic or asymptomatic, and thus the community transmission could be restored. . ”
14 day waiting periods are required. States wishing to relax the rules are invited to meet certain criteria every two weeks. But if someone was infected by the end of the 14th day, he or she may be able to start an epidemic after the restrictions have been lifted.
Shortages of protective equipment persist. Communities in which restrictions are relaxed will be more vulnerable to epidemics. Trump said the federal government has distributed millions of masks, gloves and gowns to healthcare workers, but those on the front lines say they are still at risk due to the shortage of protective equipment individual. “People are still dying,” said Zenei Cortez, president of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest nursing union. “Now is not the time to pat our backs and say that the emergency is over.”