Going Back to Work During Covid-19
If you're anything like me, you're feeling like you've been cooped up inside your house/apartment for what seems like 6 months.
In reality, for most of us it's been around a month (give or take a few weeks), while for others (depending on what state you live in), you've barely seen your life change at all.
There are certainly mixed feelings about social isolation as a policy, and as it often is, the divide seems to stand firmly along partisan lines.
In fact, several states announced this week that they would be reopening businesses and getting Americans back to work.
But is this the right call?
Reopening Too Early
I want the economy to open up just as much as the next guy.
I run a job interview resource site, and if you haven't noticed, there isn't much happening in the way of job interviews during this moment (meaning there are not many people looking for job interview-related content right now).
But it seems crazy to me to start sending people back to work when outbreaks continue to pop up all over the country where social distancing was not practiced (like factories, for example), and more importantly, there is a painful shortage in testing.
Does this not sound like a recipe for a prolonged fight?
Should we not wait, at the very least, until testing reaches a level where those with positive tests (and anyone they have had contact with) can be safely quarantined?
Because if we don't, we'll just be sending infected people back into the workforce to infect their coworkers, who will infect their families, who will infect their coworkers, who will infect their families... do you see where this is going?
And while what I wrote above may seem like the most obvious statement imaginable, for some reason we still have many people who believe that this is a risk we must take to get the economy roaring again.
I find this abhorrent. Trading human lives for economic prosperity is absurd, no matter how you slice it.
But there are some meaningful steps that can be taken to ensure safety and to begin getting the economy back on track.
The Next Steps
Earlier this week Congress reached a bipartisan deal that would see funding go to increasing the testing capabilities across the country.
This is the first major step needed to move us toward opening back up the economy and returning to some normalcy.
Health experts agree that until testing is ramped up significantly, we are in serious danger of the virus continuing its spread, and in an even worse case scenario for a city like New York, having a second wave with deadly consequences.
We really don't need to go back to the beginning of this pandemic.
I mean, we can look to Singapore for some indicator of what could happen if we open up too early. Factories in this once-revered country are now suffering as migrant workers are being marginalized. To think that this exact result wouldn't happen here is asinine. As I said before, we are already seeing similar factory-style outbreaks all over the USA.
Once the testing is adequate, I think that there are elements of the Federal Government's plan that do make sense. A call to slowly reopen the most necessary services is the best way to go, with social distancing measures continuing to be enforced where possible.
If we are able to pass this step while quarantining individuals that have tested positive for Covid-19, I believe that we will be able to begin opening more businesses and returning back to normal life. Although when this would be, your guess is as good as mine.
Wait and See
I am certainly in no rush to be returning to "normal life" until health experts have unanimously concluded that it is safe to do so.
And to be honest, I don't think that things are ever going to be exactly the way they were, as it is possible that this worldwide pandemic has changed the way we live forever.
But that, is a discussion for another time.
Until then, be safe out there!