Reopening America, How Will We Really Know when it’s Safe?Randy Mitchell (VTech)
As we strive to outwait and outwit this virus, it seems that many people are losing their patience and saying “let the future be damned, let’s get back to work or we will be ruined”. Certainly, the stresses of this pandemic have put several different types of pressures and stresses on Americans: Financial, Depression, and Fear to mention a few. The biggest one for many people seems to be financial. We have had the great good fortune of a great economy over the last few years, but concern as to how long it can remain idle before the damage becomes irreparable is a valid concern. The owners of small and independent businesses may have outstanding debts that could drive them out of business and into ruin due to lack of cash flow. Retail markets tend to demand the social mingling that a mall or other physical location provides in order to do business the “old fashioned way”. Right now, the stores or markets that are internet based and have the ways and means to distribute and deliver their goods to the consumers via the USPS, FedEx, or UPS are doing big business. Restaurants, Movie Theaters, Sports Arenas, Hairdressers, Nail Salons, Spas, Dentists, and Doctors that are closely involved with their “consumers” in more intimate ways than “Social Distancing” will allow are suffering terribly. Will there be a time where it is “safe” again to carry on business as we knew it before COVID-19 swept through the world?
Testing for the virus and tracking contacts with people who were known to have COVID-19 along with dwindling new infection rates are mentioned as some of the barometers that will tell us if it is “safe” to reopen our economy. We, as a nation, still have a grossly inadequate amount of the testing material necessary to get a firm handle on who has had the disease (antibody tests), who has it now, and who are among the “asymptomatic carriers”(the 25% of the people who are “spilling and spreading “this virus” with NO signs of infection). In spite of these very valid issues, Screening and Contact Tracing are poised to become a “COVID-19 Fact of Life” for both EMPLOYEES and CONSUMERS as the economy prepares to reopen.
How much do we get to know about each other before it becomes invasive of our rights to privacy? Many technology companies are coming up with ways to “screen” employees or potential customers by use of body temperature. Fever is one of the symptoms of people who have COVID-19. Many businesses are starting to use taking an employee’s temperature at the start of the day, at breaktime, lunchtime, and before they go home at the end of their shift as a method of determining if that person is safe to work with the public. Doctor’s Offices are using patient body temperatures to determine whether they will be seen in the office setting or referred to a hospital for evaluation and treatment. These modern thermometer systems can even provide the date, the time, facial recognition, and worst of all, save the information in a data base. These methods of determining what the VALUE of someone’s TEMPERATURE is are VERY accurate, but not very specific as to WHY the higher temperature is present. People who are completely healthy can normally run at a temperature that would be called a fever, but is really just that person’s normal temperature.
This post plays the devil’s advocate, and points out the inaccuracy and possible unfairness of the screening methods for COVID-19 that are currently available. I feel that the current methods of washing hands, surfaces, and wearing masks will be very important things that are necessary for us to do for a longer time than we would LIKE them to be, but that’s how it NEEDS to be. I do think that there will come a time in the VERY near future, where if people are following these basic protective measures, that the socialization and opening of the economy should go forward with some basic common sense.
V Technical Textiles, Inc.
Barriers Hand Washing Surface Cleaning