States Don’t Agree on How to Determine When It Is Safe to Reopen
All 50 U.S. states have loosened lockdown restrictions and mitigation measures, but analysis shows that different states are relying on different data, according to The Wall Street Journal.
As of now, a majority of states are using data that counts confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Yet, as the nation still suffers from a significant lack of testing, experts question how reliable such metrics can be. Another major metric many states are relying on is hospital capacity and PPE availability.
In fact, it was the worry that hospitals would be overrun that drove states into lockdown. When it comes to all these metrics, each state holds its own threshold. For example, Illinois has met its requirement of having at least 14 percent of hospital beds available, but New York’s requirement stands at 30 percent of hospital beds (which it has not accomplished yet).
Different states also prioritize different types of testing. Illinois, for example, has focused on testing of symptomatic health-care workers and frontline responders in its initial reopening phase, but only plans to focus on comprehensive testing in a later phase.
Washington has proved to be the only state to evaluate long-term-care facilities and racial/gender/etc. inequalities amidst reopening policies. Also, Washington has been the only state so far to utilize model predictions as it depends on the Institute for Disease Modeling and their data.
States are open to change and have been clear that guidelines could change with new data. Yet, differences in state thresholds and reopening strategies point to a divided nation. With contrasting voices in the government, and now states moving at different paces, it is clear that the U.S.’s battle against COVID-19 has not been the most united.