US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday made new recommendations for phasing out states from quarantine in three stages to revitalize the economy while it continues to fight the pandemic.
According to these recommendations, states should show a tendency to decrease in the number of cases of COVID-19 or positive tests for the disease within 14 days before embarking on a plan that gradually relaxes the restrictions for organizations closed to slow the spread of the virus.
“We do not open everything at once, but carefully, step by step,” Trump told reporters in the White House. Earlier this month, the president said he wanted to open the economy “on a grand scale.”
A promulgated plan is a set of recommendations, not orders for state governors. At the same time, Trump on Monday insisted that he has every right to order the states to “open” or extend quarantine measures. Such decisions are the responsibility of state authorities, not federal ones.
The recommendations were criticized by Ron Klein, who led the Obama administration’s anti-ebola response and advised former vice president Joe Biden, the alleged Democratic presidential candidate in 2020.
“This is not a plan. This can hardly be called a presentation, ”he said on Twitter, where he noted that the plan does not include provisions to increase the number of tests and does not establish a specific incidence rate for deciding to open an economy.
Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Biden, said tests were a key factor in the decision to lift the restrictions and criticized Trump’s presentation for lack of specificity.
The new recommendations effectively supersede, at least for some states, federal guidelines on the 30-day anti-virus restrictions that should remain in effect until late April. States that meet the criteria can move on to the first phase of the plan on Friday, Trump said. According to him, about 29 states will soon be able to “open up.”
According to the recommendations, at the first stage, the accumulation of more than 10 people should be avoided if the corresponding measures of social distance are not feasible. The number of non-critical trips should be minimized, remote work arrangements should be encouraged, and common areas in offices closed.
Schools remain closed at the first stage, however large facilities, such as cinemas, restaurants, stadiums and religious sites, can be opened, but in compliance with “strict physical distance protocols”.
Hospitals heavily affected by the crisis may resume outpatient elective operations. Bars must remain closed.
At the second stage, applicable to states and regions in which “there are no signs of redistribution (outbreak)”, it is recommended to avoid the accumulation of more than 50 people if social distance measures cannot be observed. Restrictions on optional trips can be lifted, while schools and camps can resume work, and bars with “lesser occupancy” may reopen. Hospitals can also resume inpatient elective operations, which is critical to their income.
The third phase involves removing restrictions on jobs, but Dr. Deborah Birks, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Working Group, which took the lead in developing recommendations, said the “new norm” will remain: the need for higher standards of hygiene and in a larger space between people to prevent the asymptomatic spread of the virus.
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