At the press conference this afternoon, President Trump and his health advisers announced a 15-day plan to slow the spread of COVID-19. This is the federal government’s latest, and most drastic, plan for flattening the curve of the panepidemic in the U.S. It calls for a 10-person limit on social gatherings, quarantining of members of a household of a person who has tested positive for SARS-Cov-2, and the closing of restaurants, bars, and other places where people gather in states with evidence of community transmission,
"The reason we’re taking these strong and bold steps is because we know there is virus spread before you develop symptoms, and then we know that there’s a large group — we don’t know the precise percent yet — that actually is asymptomatic or has such mild cases that they continue to spread the virus," said Deborah Birx, MD, a top HIV/AIDS official who has emerged as one of the more visible members of the coronavirus task force that Trump assembled and put Vice President MIke Pence in charge of.
The 15-day mark of the guidance should not,though, be mistaken as an estimate for when the tide will be turned on COVID-19 and American returns to the old normal.
In response to a question today about “how quickly can we turn this corner” [on the COVID-19 epidemic], President Trump said that “it seems to me if we do a really good job….but people are talking about July, August, something like that…”
Here are some of key takeaways from the plan.
Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
Just yesterday the CDC had set the ceiling at 50.
If you feel sick, stay home.
Don’t go to work and contact your medical provider. Plenty of people who aren’t sick with the virus are electing to stay put. The #stayhome hashtag trended on Twitter today.
If someone in your household has tested positive, then the entire household should stay home.
Extending quarantine to members of an infected person’s household is new. Previous guidance from the CDC advised measures to mitigate the risk of getting infected: stay in another room from the person who had tested positive, make sure that rooms have good airflow, wash your hands frequently—that kind of thing. Now if one person in the household tests positive, the White House is saying that everyone in that house should stay home, not go to work or school, and someone should contact a medical provider.