Monday, May 18, 2020

Atul Gawande, M.D. writes articles for The New Yorker and has some excellent advice for all of us about how to re-enter the world after our weeks in seclusion.

The New Yorker reports and analysis on Covid-19 are free to all to read.

Here is the beginning of this article with the link attached below. As usual, Dr. Gawande offers a thoughtful analysis on the strategies that healthcare workers have undertaken that can be applied to all of us sitting at home wondering how safe it will be to venture outside to resume semi-normal activities as more non-essential services are added. I hope you'll read on...

Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Reëntry

In places around the world, lockdowns are lifting to various degrees—often prematurely. Experts have identified a few indicators that must be met to begin opening nonessential businesses safely: rates of new cases should be low and falling for at least two weeks; hospitals should be able to treat all coronaviruspatients in need; and there should be a capacity to test everyone with symptoms. But then what? What are the rules for reëntry? Is there any place that has figured out a way to open and have employees work safely, with each other and with their customers?

Well, yes: in health care. The Boston area has been a covid-19 hotspot. Yet the staff members of my hospital system here, Mass General Brigham, have been at work throughout the pandemic. We have seventy-five thousand employees—more people than in seventy-five per cent of U.S. counties. In April, two-thirds of us were working on site. Yet we’ve had few workplace transmissions. Not zero: we’ve been on a learning curve, to be sure, and we have no way to stop our health-care workers from getting infected in the community. But, in the face of enormous risks, American hospitals have learned how to avoid becoming sites of spread. When the time is right to lighten up on the lockdown and bring people back to work, there are wider lessons to be learned from places that never locked down in the first place.

These lessons point toward an approach that we might think of as a combination therapy—like a drug cocktail. Its elements are all familiar: hygiene measures, screening, distancing, and masks. Each has flaws. Skip one, and the treatment won’t work. But, when taken together, and taken seriously, they shut down the virus. We need to understand these elements properly—what their strengths and limitations are—if we’re going to make them work outside health care.

To read the article, follow this link.

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