Lou Jost wrote:
Granted, it is not equivalent, but lockdown/shutdown does increase social distancing in important and effective ways.
It also decreases social distancing in important ways, such as pushing multi-generational households into isolation together, increasing social tensions and domestic violence, etc.
A couple of things are still needed in order to safely go back to work. First, easily available testing. Here the CDC and the Trump administration are to blame, and Trump's repeated denials of problems in this area are practically criminal.
No, testing is not needed. It is too late for testing or contact tracing. What would you do with that information? Are you proposing a "covid passport" or some such nonsense? A much, much bigger percentage of the population has been infected, and had no symptoms, than the symptomatic case numbers indicate. Testing is just an excuse to slow the removal of shutdowns. In reality, testing was useless as soon as the rate turned exponential.
The other thing that is needed is readily available obligatory high-quality N95 (or equivalent) masks. This is another area where Trump's "leadership" is lacking. If we had those, and gloves, I'd feel safe going to work in most reasonably well ventilated spaces during the summer (in many parts of the US it will be impossible to maintain adequate ventilation in the winter). There would need to be a spacious outdoor lunch area though, since masks have to come off then.
Yes, masks are key IMO, but you have to ask yourself "what are these masks for?" Even N95 masks do little to keep you from breathing in virus, so they are not for you
, they are to keep you from widely spreading the virus if you are infectious. The problem with many of the N95 masks is they have vents. 3M markets these as "cool flow" or similar. The vents close when breathing in so that the air is filtered, but open on breathing out. Similar valves are included in high-end designer masks, and indeed I have some cool flows as well as some designer types and love them since they keep my glasses from fogging, but my breath goes right out into the atmosphere nearly unimpeded, so they don't really meet the intended purpose. Regular surgical masks are designed to slow the spread of breath, coughs, etc, and are probably much more effective. That said, a big percentage of folks don't put them over their nose, so proper training and regulation of use would be needed. Bottom line, a cheap handkerchief is probably a good enough solution.
Some things you didn't mention was the monitoring of temperatures and coughs. IMO this is more important than any of the above. Folks who are coughing or have fevers should not be allowed to return to work until they are no longer coughing. I suppose this is one area where testing might
be useful, to let someone identified as being sick back to work after they test negative.
Edited to add: it's not just going to work, but IMO folks with fevers or coughs should not be allowed into stores, restaurants, etc. In the US it would not be possible to quarantine them, but if every place they go denies entry, they will get the hint that they should just stay home.