No state meets the thresholds for “re-opening” its economy nor lifting stay-at-home orders given the occurrence of new COVID-19 cases, an analysis reveals.
The liberal-leaning Center for American Progress on Monday reported that there are three indicators states should use to determine whether to ease distancing requirements. First, there must be a low level of newly-occurring cases. Second, tests must be available to identify positive cases. Finally, states must be able to perform contact tracing for those who interacted with infected persons.
“If widespread transmission remains, the public will not have confidence in engaging with the economy — regardless of whether it is legally allowed,” CAP wrote.
As of April 29, CAP identified Colorado as having 613 new COVID-19 cases daily, which exceeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of “low incidence” of 0.71 positive cases daily per 100,000 people. The number also exceeded the infection rate in South Korea, which is the only major country to control the spread of the disease without implementing a lockdown.
“Such arbitrary loosening [of stay-at-home orders], unmoored from evidence and conditions on the ground, risks a second uncontrollable wave of infections,” CAP warned.
The analysis also showed that Colorado performed just over 1,300 tests per day. South Korea’s testing showed positive results in 2% of cases, and the lower the positive rate, the greater the chance that testing is capturing all persons infected. Only Rhode Island, which performs nearly 2,300 tests daily on a population less than one-fifth of Colorado’s, satisfies that goal.
Medical leaders in Colorado have called the state's stay-at-home order, which expired after April 26, essential to avoiding an overrun of hospitals with COVID-19 cases. “It’s not a time for us to relax," said Bill Janssen, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health.