CDC offers brief checklists to guide businesses, schools and others on reopening

Still awaited is detailed technical guidance that the CDC has submitted to the coronavirus task force and the White House for review, and that many have been clamoring for.

“The country needs the guidance of the nation’s best medical and scientific experts. These literally are matters of life and death,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday, where he proposed that all CDC advice be released. “And that’s exactly why the CDC prepared this guidance. America needs and must have the candid guidance of our best scientists — unfiltered, unedited and uncensored by President Trump or his political minions.”

A CDC spokesman said that additional recommendations still may be coming from the agency. The six decision trees were ready for release, so the administration decided to put them out while other guidelines make their way through the review process.

The documents released Thursday are aimed at helping facilities decide if they’re ready to open and inform how they do so, he said.

“This was an effort on our part to make some decision trees we thought might be helpful to those moving forward with opening their establishment,” the spokesperson said.

But with many states already moving on, it is unclear what impact the additional recommendations released Thursday may have.

But many states, their economies in free fall, ignored the first “gate” and moved ahead. The plan did not include specifics that many state and local officials, business leaders and millions of people sought to help them safely resume a version of their previous lives.

The documents released Thursday were reviewed extensively by White House Office of Management and Budget officials who were concerned the initial draft was too burdensome on churches and restaurants, among others.

The CDC removed from an earlier draft a recommendation that no facility open in an area where spread of the virus requires “significant mitigation.” But it left a warning against reopening against local or state orders. That puts the responsibility squarely on state and local governments to impose those rules.

“Usually it’s the state and local health department that follow CDC’s lead and not the other way around,” said Matthew Seeger, who has researched crisis communication for the past 35 years at Wayne State University. “It’s the latest way the current leadership is putting the onus on states and trying to make this a decentralized structure. That’s not how CDC usually works.”

Thursday’s guidance helps workplaces decide whether to reopen, how to promote hygiene measures such as mask-wearing and hand-washing before they do and how to monitor employees for symptoms of infection, among other advice.

It recommends that restaurants and bars “encourage social distancing and enhance spacing at establishments,” in part by “spacing of tables/stools, limiting party sizes and occupancy, avoiding self-serve stations, restricting employee shared spaces, [and] rotating or staggering shifts, if feasible.”

It advises mass transit systems to “limit routes to and from high transmission areas” before resuming full service.

No decision tree for faith communities was released. Telling houses of worship how to operate stirred controversy when the CDC’s original draft instructions were leaked last month.

Public health experts said the way the Trump administration has rolled out guidelines makes it less likely people will heed them.

“In many ways, this advice is the only medicine we have,” Seeger said. “We don’t have a vaccine yet. We don’t have treatment. All we have is human behavior and that behavior is based on the information people get and whether they will listen to that information.” Seeger also helped CDC create a manual on emergency communication.

The advice so far from the federal government has been inconsistent — on masks, on the need and availability of testing and contact tracing, and now on how businesses and community organizations should approach reopening.

The White House at first shelved the CDC guidelines. When asked about them, the White House said they were “overly specific” and in the process of being revised.

Yasmeen Abutaleb contributed to this report.

View original article here Source

Related Posts