The illustration above is now more relevant than ever with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s recent announcement. In a press conference on April 20, 2020, he stated that “gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools, and massage therapists [are able] to reopen their doors this Friday, April 24, 2020.”
Some supporters of this change are the same people praising healthcare workers for their bravery, yet won’t practice social distancing. Some have also acknowledged the potential resurgence of cases once this order goes into effect, but believe it’s a necessary risk. To believe that a hair cut or a tattoo is more important than society’s well-being is an incredibly individualistic and privileged way of thinking.
The American College of Physicians has determined 5 essential elements for the US to safely “reopen”, noting that most communities are not ready to ease restrictions.
1) Widespread reliable testing for COVID-19 to accurately determine whether a sustained decrease in cases is happening.
2) Increase in contact tracing that balances public health needs and patient confidentiality.
3) Sufficient workforce to perform testing, analysis, and follow up.
4) Resources such as PPE for EVERY frontline worker.
5) Sufficient healthcare infrastructure: hospital, healthcare provider, and health system capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.
It is nearly impossible for those working in these industries to provide their services while maintaining a safe distance of 6 ft. Going out during this time not only puts you and these workers at risk, but it also unnecessarily increases the number of COVID-19 cases and puts more stress on our healthcare providers. Saying that they and our healthcare facilities have already been overwhelmed is an understatement. According to some health prediction models, the curves are flattening, but it’s difficult to determine their accuracy due to a lack of testing initially. Regardless, reopening the economy now is analogous to not finishing a prescribed course of antibiotics because you’re starting to feel better.
Be considerate and if possible, stay home.