Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll be aware that normal life in many places has come to a stand-still. A viral pandemic has swept across the world, infecting millions of people and shutting down large parts of the economy.
In America, millions of people have lost their jobs, businesses are shutting down, and there has been an unprecedented disruption to flights.
America has been one of the worst affected countries due to slow action on closing the borders and a state-by-state lockdown plan as opposed to a federal plan.
Now President Trump has declared the end of phase 1 and the start of phase 2. What does this mean?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is the Corona Virus?
A Coronavirus is a name given to a collection of viruses of varying strengths that cause Coronavirus Disease. It’s also known as Covid-19 or SARS CoV2. The 2019 Cornavirus diseases are a new strain that little is known about.
The virus can cause server respiratory problems including pneumonia and losing the ability to breathe unassisted, though some people can be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms similar to a common cold.
The disease was thought to have originated in Wuhan China at a wet market where live and dead animals are sold together, though the origin is not entirely clear due to restrictions on investigations about the origin of the virus imposed by China.
How Far Spread?
Corona Virus has infected approximately 4.23 million people. It has spread to 187 different countries and there have been 289,000 deaths. It’s important to remember that the figure is likely to be higher as not all cases and deaths have been reported.
The virus does not discriminate between people, even U.K Prime Minister Boris Johnson found himself in an ICU because of the virus. Though there is some evidence that black people from ethnic minorities are more likely to die of the virus.
Phase 2: Small Steps Towards Opening the Economy
The effect on the economy of the virus has been huge. Record numbers of people have lost their jobs. The risk of a financial depression to rival that of the 1930s is a likely scenario in the months to come.
President Trump, therefore, wants to get the economy moving as soon as possible. He believes that the first stage of the pandemic is over. He wants to now move to phase 2 – Opening up America Again – that would allow for small steps towards reopening the economy.
The Trump administration believes life can start to return to normal soon. Not when the virus has been eliminated but when the following steps have been completed to help mitigate the virus going forward:
- Setting up testing sites, very quickly and contact tracing of those who test positive.
- Surveillance of affected patients to track down who they’ve been in contact with, perhaps through Apps and CCTV.
- Health care providers can quickly access protective equipment if there is a sudden surge in cases.
- There are clear plans in place to protect workers – such as social distancing – to enable them to return to work.
- ICU capacity can be increased at a rapid speed if there is a sudden increase in cases requiring emergency ventilation.
If these steps are met then the Trump administration says non-essential transport can resume, some schools and youth clubs can re-open, large venues like dining houses can reopen but with social distancing.
Is the U.S Ready for Phase 2?
Despite President Trump declaring that America has moved into phase 2, there are severe doubts that this can work going forward.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head doctor working on the crisis and the face of the medical side at Trump’s conferences, made some admissions during his testimony at the Senate Health Committee. He said that America would not be able to cope with a sudden new spike in cases if he relaxed measures any time soon.
He also stated that although it might be tempting to relax measures so that people can get back to work this could be counterproductive.
If there was to be a second spike then this could mean starting all over again and the end of the months of hard work already put in place by the lockdowns and social distancing restrictions.
Speaker Bonnen – state representative for District 25 – has also stated that we should be cautious about reopening the capital too soon.
Phase 2 Doesn’t Really Change Much
Although President Trump has said that America has entered Phase 2 of the Corona Virus, in fact, there is still a long way to go.
Social distancing and lockdown measures can’t be eased too early. Even though testing facilities have been increased and there is enough supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ICUs to cope with a moderate spike, the healthcare system can’t cope with a huge outbreak.
Implementing an easing of restrictions too early can also prolong the economic damage in the long run. This is because if you see a sudden spike you end up back to where you were at the start of the pandemic and end up having to have a stricter lockdown for a longer period of time.
It seems as if the 2019 Coronavirus is here to stay for a long time and that social distancing and lockdowns will be the new normal until a vaccine is found. Although it is continuing to affect every aspect of our life, the best thing to do is to stay indoors, remain vigilant, and take precautionary measures for the foreseeable future.
If you are interested in reading more about phase 2 check out the rest of our site.