On Thursday, the U.K. released a plan for reopening the nation where the first step is … not reopening the nation. Instead, the U.K. announced that it would remain in lockdown for at least three more weeks and would not consider relaxing the social distancing guidelines in place nationwide unless a series of minimum goals were achieved and a reasonable degree of safety can be assured.
But what’s been seen of Trump’s plan so far seems to be exactly the opposite. The proposal lays out a three-step process for reopening the country that includes moving from limited reopening in phase one to a return to near normal in phase three. For example, in phase one, employers would be encouraged to begin bringing employees back in small numbers. By phase three, movie theaters would be at full capacity and only “vulnerable individuals” would be encouraged to practice social distancing.
What’s missing from any of these phases is any guidelines on what makes them at all feasible. There’s no set standard for required testing. There’s no provision for looking at the capacity of the healthcare system. There’s nothing in there that looks for warnings of a coming second wave. There’s nothing at all that suggests that there will be any regular review and potential rollback in response to signs of increasing illness.
It’s a plan that seems to represent a ton of rewards … without requiring any achievements. Which would be great, except that the stick which comes with this pile of carrots is likely to be in the form of bodies.