The Three Phase Plan | Citizens Against Government Waste

The Three Phase Plan

The WasteWatcher

On Thursday, April 16, President Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force leaders, Vice President Mike Pence and Doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx announced their plan for the nation to move beyond the damage COVID-19 has caused.  The “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again” provides a three-phased process for governors, employers, and individuals to follow for reopening the U.S. economy, preventing the coronavirus from spreading further, and protecting those most vulnerable to the virus.

The president thanked the American people for their perseverance and sacrifice, and for the heroism of the nation’s medical professionals.  He remarked, “As I have said for some time now, a national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.  To preserve the health of our citizens, we must also preserve the health and functioning of our economy.”

The plan is very much a step-by-step process, driven by supportable medical data on the ground, and it will be left up to the governors to decide how fast to move forward, depending on the conditions in their state.  It will also include border control, travel restrictions, and other entry limitations around the country to stop the virus and protect Americans.

The plan includes a lot of testing and reporting of medical data.  Dr. Birx said, “we’ll be doing sentinel surveillance throughout nursing homes, throughout inner-city federal clinics, throughout indigenous populations, to really be able to find early alerts of asymptomatic individuals in the community.  And both for the syndromic cases that are tested, the influenza-like cases, and the asymptomatic cases: doing contact tracing, again, with support from the Centers for Disease Control, working with each state and local government.”

Before entering each phase, “gating” criteria must be met.  Gating means certain metrics must be satisfied.  For example, states will need to see a downward trajectory of influenza-like and COVID-19-like illnesses within a 14-day period and a downward trajectory of documented cases or positive tests.

Some states will be able to move through the phases relatively quickly because they were barely affected by the virus and few citizens had COVID-19.  Some governors may decide to allow certain counties in their state begin moving through the phases immediately while other counties will be on a much more cautious pace.  If a spike is developing in an area, the state can hold in place or go back to the prior phase.

Johns Hopkins’ Coronavirus Research Center constantly updates its map of the United States every day after 8:00 P.M.  One can get a sense of which states will be able to move more quickly through the phases, provided they follow the guidelines.

The guidelines for employers and individuals include washing hands, disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces, using face coverings in public, monitoring the workforce for symptoms, and not allowing symptomatic employees to return to work until cleared by a medical provider.

Vulnerable individuals must be protected.  The guidelines list these individuals as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised like by procedures like chemotherapy.

Americans are getting anxious and want to get back to work.  Governors and mayors have been criticized for their abuse of power and irrational decisions over what is necessary and unnecessary work and behavior.  President Trump understands the country cannot stay on the current trajectory without causing terrible harm to its citizens and the economy.  The hope is these guidelines will help governors make wise decisions that will allow Americans go back to work in a safe manner, protect the vulnerable, and return the nation to the economic powerhouse it was and will be.

The guidelines can be found here.

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