Rhode Island’s Governor Gina Raimondo has enacted a two-week pause to try to effectively slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Should the Rhode Island Governor have pre-emptively put these restrictions in place before Thanksgiving to help slow the rates down? Likely, but let’s not talk about the past here in this article, and let’s focus on current actions that will be effective in resuming the economy in Rhode Island.
Here is the initial protocol when the two-week pause was enacted:
The pause has now been extended for 1 week with a new updated protocol:
At which point it looks like restrictions are being loosened. This doesn’t seem like a major change, so why did it take so long to release this protocol, and what science is this based on?
Well, I cannot answer why it took so long to release this protocol, but I can give some insight as to why restrictions may be loosened based on an article from Nature:
Mobility network models of COVID-19 explain inequities and inform reopening
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic markedly changed human mobility patterns, necessitating…
It is an article explaining computer modeling on how COVID19 is being spread, how it may be minimized, why there higher infection rate for lower-income individuals, how certain actions may disproportionately affect lower-income individuals more than others. It is a dense read for most people, but if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of the modeling, it is great.
Now questions for Gina Raimondo, political partisanship aside for this discussion, what her decisions based on, and what will future options look like for controlling the spread of COVID19 while taking into consideration the economy of the state.
- Will these restrictions guidelines work? If so, what metrics are we tracking and how long is the timeline to expect results?
- What can we expect in 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 6 weeks from now?
- Are your actions taking lower-income families into consideration for these restrictions? If not, what are you doing to support them during this time other than 600 dollar boost in SNAP?
- What does contact tracing look like and where are the hot spots for infections?
- Are gyms a place where COVID-19 is being spread? If not, why are they being restricted since they are unlikely to acquire any new members during a pandemic?
- Are the grants that you gave going to have real-world results to bolster the negative effects of your two-week pause and extension on small businesses in Rhode Island that are bleeding out?
I will end with simple statistics for average daily cases in the last 7 days:
Connecticut — 78 cases per 100k
Massachusetts — 67.2 cases per 100k
Rhode Island — 123.8 cases per 100k
We are almost double the cases compared to our neighboring states and currently the highest per capita in the United States for infections. In this context, should we be doing the same thing as our neighboring states and hope for the best? Likely not, given this context, we need to be doing something different to control the situation we have. This announcement of a pause extension with a broad loosening of restrictions is seemingly the same effort a high school student gives to plagiarize a paper due the night before because it has yet to be started. It will neither be effective to slow down the infections rates and will hurt us both short term and long term economically.
What will you and your team do, Gina?
Please leave comments on what you think, keeping it professional, and leaving political partisanship aside or else they will be deleted.