Absent any certainty, one group of health experts, led by Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and former adviser to the Obama administration, argues that stay-at-home orders must continue until at least May 20. Another team, led by Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner, suggests that states should relax their restrictions only after new case counts have fallen for 14 consecutive days. Currently, the U.S. is still averaging about 30,000 new confirmed cases every day. “My sense is that we haven’t turned the corner,” said Rivers, who is a co-author on Gottlieb’s road map.
Both groups agree that before relaxing the guidelines on social distancing the U.S. urgently needs to expand its ability to test for the virus, and to shore up hospitals with sufficient supplies. These recommendations are sensible, but they hinge on the expectation that the U.S. can recover the ground it lost due to its early inaction. It might not be able to.