“Opening America Up Again”
The impact of the coronavirus has been devastating, impacting the daily lives of citizens and crippling economies across the globe. Social distancing has been imposed to reduce the extent of the virus’ spread within the United States. Although, undeniably, social distancing has decreased the exponential spread of the virus, it has subsequently halted our economy. Arising out of this conflict is the question: just how long can we keep our economy shut down? On Thursday, President Trump announced a broad 18 page plan for states least affected by the virus to begin the reintegration of state's communities and their respective economies. The three step process of reintegration consists of basic guidelines and conditions for states to relax their social distancing and work restrictions. Trump claims that as many as 29 states will soon loosen their policies and return to a functioning level. The conditions that need to be met for these states (though not technically enforced by the federal government) is a declining infection rate, no sign of a viral bounce back, and most importantly, a robust system for testing the presence of COVID-19 in citizens who recovered from the virus. However, there are three criteria that must be met to allow the loosening of the medical and economic restrictions: vulnerable people should remain at home and practice full on social distancing, governmental restrictions should loosen if there is no evidence of a viral rebound, and low-risk citizens’ should limit outside crowd-based interactions, but employers should begin to reopen work at a precocious rate and safe work environment. Although there is no set timeline given for the reopening of these 29 “well-off” states, President Trump pointed to the end of April. As reinforced by a multitude of health experts around the world, the main key to being able to reopen the economy is the ability to mass-test for COVID-19 amongst the population. A popular test that is starting to be further developed and employed is the COVID-19 antibody test. It is hoped that people who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be immune to reinfection (yet to be proven). Hopefully, as the test is more mainstreamed, workers that test positive for the antibodies to COVID-19, and therefore likely have a higher resistance to the virus, will be able to resume their work lives and continue to provide for their families in this time of need.
Keith Knutsson of Integrale Advisors commented that, “The next key to overcoming the struggles of the COVID-19 outbreak lies in a reliable antibody test. With this test, the many workers that form the foundation of our growing economy would have a chance at starting our fiscal rebound."