While we wait for details on Gov. Charlie Baker's four-phase plan to re-open Massachusetts, one thing is clear.
"That question of how to reopen safely is not a million-dollar question. It's quite literally the trillion-dollar question," Harvard University public health researcher Joe Allen said.
The three T's are a big part of the answer — testing, tracing and treatment.
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"We're doing much better with testing, and Massachusetts is actually leading the nation in testing per capita," said Dr. Helen Boucher, chief of infectious diseases at Tufts Medical Center. "That said, we're not where we need to be yet."
Testing tells us who needs to be treated. Tracing tells us who needs to quarantine.
Reopening is not likely to start until we see 14 consecutive days of positive test results below 10%. Even before we get there, government and business have to plan for de-densifying our commute and workspaces.
"Everyone shouldn't be rushing back at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning, trying to hit these trains like we normally do," Allen said. "That's not going to work, so we have to extend the workday, go to A/B days, so we de-densify the demand, both at the office building but, then, in transit."
There will be setbacks, according to Allen.
"It's a phased approach, but it is not a march forward, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. We have to be prepared to take a step back," he said. "In fact, we're going to have to, if you look at what the models say, that's very likely that we'll have to step back at times."