States Should Be Transparent in Their Decisions to Reopen

As states plan to reopen after their Coronavirus Shutdowns, residents of the states, the media, and Americans throughout the country have questioned the wisdom of these decisions. While many of these groups offer good suggestions, states should, at a minimum, follow the guidance of the White House Coronavirus Task Force (Task Force). The Task Force (which includes Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx) is composed of experts in the Coronavirus, infectious disease, and public health, and they have the most information on the disease, its transmission, and how to prevent it. The Task Force envisioned that states would reopen in three phases, with each phase being more expansive. Before moving to each phase, states would have to satisfy five (5) Gating Criteria.

States have not specifically demonstrated that they satisfy the Gating Criteria required for Phase One of reopening. Residents of the states have a right to know this information so that they can protect their health. States should publish this information on the internet and newspapers so it is readily accessible. They should use actual data rather than models because the decision to reopen should be based on actual numbers (which should exist because the events occurred in the past). If the states do not have actual numbers, that is a sign that they do not have the infrastructure to reopen. The website should present the information in a chart similar to the one below.

The goals are to protect the health of the population, preserve the economy, and return to pre-Coronavirus life. It is critical, however, that any openings are done in the safest way possible. Full and transparent disclosure of how states satisfy the Gating Criteria will help ensure that state plans are appropriate.

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© 2020 by Michael B. Abramson