OPINION: Ideas for Tentative Reopening Steps

by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Photo: WB Pandemic Flick
Photo: WB Pandemic Flick

Stuck in a stay at home bubble social distinancing pandemic, we don't have to be together to work together (thanks Verizon) has become a new mantra, for most.


Faced with continuing condovirus spikes leap frogging across the U.S. and world, President Donald Trump has proposed then walked back a "hypothetical" reopening by Easter Sunday.

PLEASE ... leave political preference out of this. My intent is a small scientific study in an atmosphere of unknowns

Population density and travel appear risk factors. For instance, WV with a combination of rural density, natural social distancing, and few international travelers or travelers to "hot" areas has at the time of this writing zero deaths (though the single digets are anticipated immediately). Still, there are numerous quadrants/counties with low risk scores.

After an "aspirational" reopen by Easter Sunday proposal, the President has "walked back" his statement. Two of the more unrecognized symptoms --- loss of taste and smell --- illustrate why suspected patients could research "on line" and otherwise before taking free of symptoms test(s).

PLEASE ... hold back your preconceived notions until you finish this read.

Inevitably, the uncharted territory of this threat indicates scientific testing is still on-going. Without a litany of disclaimers, here's a subject to tweaking or modification conversation starter:

After carefully checking the neighboring counties for "low" risk patterns too, select voluntary "sample" counties for random controlled Test(s). Statistics are still forging upward, so it's obviously too soon to lossen stay at home and social distancing commandments. When the stats are more stable, a few (lower single didgets) "voluntary" low risk counties could participate in an exercise mentioned during a recent Rep. Carol Miller tele-conference: Drive in church (and/or a variation or two, like a drive in movie.)

A tiny church in rural WV held an impromptu "drive in " church service, where participants were on a stage and all attendees stayed in their vehicles. A study proposal ---- tested and uninfected volunteers participate in a drive in service (activity). The numbers are limited. Attendees agree to check in with health status for 30 days. They neither gain nor loose treatment rights for the virus. Volunteers waive any right to sue. The location(s) would be an operating or recently inactive outdoor theatre with fencing , rest rooms , concession stand and screen/stage in place . Playgrounds would be roped off. The "test" is IN VEHICLE subject to calls of nature and approved variables (bring your own food or purchase at stand and eat in car). Ms. Miller noted an obvious benefits echoed from the impromptu service ---- attendees gained emotional benefits from waving to friends in nearby vehicles.

Attendees are tracked (i.e. symptoms, hospitalized, healthy) for the study at least a month. Again, the virus is "unique" so  controlled tests outcomes might give some insights. For instance, stay at home allows for grocery/drug runs (another test?) are allowed on "stay at home," should supplies be delivered weekly (yes, that's a tall order) by decontaminated robots?

That's it. Conversation opened. Avoid coulda, shoulda and woulda and political scenarios. Conditions as given unless you specify modifications.

(Responses to trutherford@huntingtonnews.net and/or FB HNN. All comments considered for publication. You CAN specify anonymity provided you have viable reason ( unidentified physician, off record state elected office, etc.)