11. Recommended Guidelines for Easing of Social Distancing

(4/21/20) Relaxation of social restrictions will happen and probably prematurely. Given that political reality, it is imperative to put into place a phased approach where each next phase is based on metrics to minimize new outbreaks.

Remember to check my post called “Daily Rumblings” for late breaking updates.

The U.S. Administration released guidelines for relaxing social distancing. There are many common sense recommendations, e.g., continue to practice good hygiene and advising sick people to stay at home. However, the three phased approach is lacking in specifics, e.g., “bars may operate with diminished standing-room occupancy,” without defining density or distance requirements.

The following suggested guidelines are a phased approach to relaxing social restrictions. In all cases it is still mandatory that people who are sick or feel sick should stay home. These recommendations are for healthy individuals only. I post this in hopes that it gets noticed and if found reasonable contributes to a collective set of guidelines that can be followed, monitored, and allow maximum freedom and economic opportunity without exposing the public to excessive COVID-19 risk.

Phase I – At recommended easy datePhase II – 3 weeks later if no negative trendsPhase III – 3 weeks later if no negative trends
Work– Employees work at office 2 days a week on two different cycles, e.g., Mon/Wed, Tue/Thu
– Maximum density of employees is 1 per 100 square feet
– Mandate use of hand sanitizer entering and exiting work
– Place hand sanitizers in many locations (at least 1 per 1,000 square feet) and every bathroom or breakout room
– Minimize contact and exercise caution
-Employees may return to work full time
– No other changes
– No other changes
Schools– Healthy students may return to classes
– Maintain 6-foot distance in class rooms or lecture halls
– Mandate use of hand sanitizer entering and exiting class rooms
– Minimize contact and exercise caution
– No other changes– 6 foot distance restriction may be relaxed
– No other changes
Restaurants– Open with every other table unoccupied
– Bar area closed to customers
– Mandate use of hand sanitizer entering and exiting establishment
– Hand sanitizer at every table and bathroom
– Servers must wear masks and gloves
– All tables may be served
– Bar area open only for sitting and stools spaced 6 feet apart
– Hand sanitizers on bar every 12 ft apart
– No other changes
– Remove all restrictions, but:
– Maintain signs to minimize contact
– Maintain hand sanitizers
Retail stores (e.g., groceries, mall, etc.)– Open all stores except those requiring contact (e.g., hair dressers, manicure, etc.)
– Place signs stating rules against congregations
– Place hand sanitizers in many locations (at least 1 per 1,000 square feet) and every bathroom or breakout room
– Assign security to resolve unlawful congregations or rule violations
– Employees must wear masks and gloves
– Open all stores
– No other changes
– Remove all restrictions, but:
– Maintain signs to minimize contact
– Maintain hand sanitizers
Stadiums (sports concerts)– Not allowed– Allow ¼ capacity and space seating for different groups
– Mandate use of hand sanitizer entering and exiting
– Hand sanitizers in every bathroom
– Cone off every other parking space (this may be difficult), at the very least place signage to forbid adjacent parking.
– Remove all restrictions, but:
– Maintain signs to minimize contact
Beaches– Open beaches and parking lots.
– Cone off every other parking space (this may be difficult), at the very least place signage to forbid adjacent parking.
– Place signs stating rules against congregations
– Station police officers every half mile to resolve unlawful congregations or rule violations
All parking acceptableNo other changes– Remove all restrictions, but:
– Maintain signs to minimize contact
Gyms– Aerobics or cycling classes forbidden
– Limit density of attendees to 1 per 100 square feet
– Mandate use of hand sanitizer entering and exiting gym
– Place hand sanitizers in many locations (at least 1 per 1,000 square feet) and every bathroom or breakout room
– Minimize contact, and exercise caution
– Aerobics and cycling classes allowed, but with 6-foot distancing
– No other changes
– No other changes
Other– All service people must still wear masks and gloves
– In general, when out avoid handshakes and any touching with strangers
– No other changes– Service people may dispense with masks and gloves
– No other changes

Ironically, the safest time for an individual to socially ease is just before it becomes practiced by all as cases will surely go up at that point.

Doing the math on 22M new unemployment claims and 45,000 deaths we come up with a ratio of about 500 unemployed per death. So, what is the ratio that can be tolerated? Would doubling the deaths to halve the unemployment be worth it? That would be then sacrificing a life for 250 jobs. Then we get into moral issues such as what if it is an elderly death. Should the figure of merit be how many ‘years’ of life do we sacrifice? That’s a question that someone must be answering somewhere.

I would say whatever date one considers safe for social easing add 2 weeks just to be safer and less risky of an infection rebound; as Fauci says if we relax too soon it “will backfire”. Further our testing capacity is still woefully inadequate to test for small outbreaks that could lead to large outbreaks. However, the country will succumb to economic pressures to re-open so we need a thoughtful prudent plan.

4 thoughts on “11. Recommended Guidelines for Easing of Social Distancing”

    1. The toilet paper manufacturers are going to switch over to hand sanitizers. Or they are going to come from China.

  1. Did you send it to our congressional representatives? Also has Orange County peaked? Thanks for doing all this.

    Sent from Robert’s iPad 2

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    1. It’s on my list to contact our congress people. As for OC, I don’t think we ever had an epidemic where you see rapid growth in cases and then deaths and then through social isolating you peak and recover. OC has been more sporadic. Surprised that LA hasn’t infiltrated us. However, we have an unprotected population so an outbreak can still happen easily.

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