Updated 12:30 p.m. (CT) June 1, 2020
There are now 6,057,853 reported cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, worldwide according to the World Health Organization. 1,761,503 total cases were reported in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control. The National Safety Education Center is following this situation to provide up-to-date, helpful information for our members, our instructors, and the public.
Businesses must consider worker safety and economic realities as they decide when and how to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. According to an NPR interview with two economists, Teresa Ghilarducci and James Broughel, workers in the United States have filed over 30 million jobless claims in the last six weeks. As employers struggle with strategic business decisions, they must weigh the benefits and risks of reopening.
How can business owners know when to reopen? Economist Ghilarducci says, “Among professional economists, the majority opinion is to follow the epidemiologists. All of our models about when it would make sense to restart the economy gradually are following the epidemiologists' curves about when it could be flattened. And that's because we know going back to work too early and in the wrong places could cause a second wave and could cause costs to workers, the productive part of the economy. ” Read NPR’s interview about balancing public safety and reopening economies here and learn more about factors that affect reopening your business.
As businesses prepare to reopen, each business should develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan in case an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs. According to OSHA’s document Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, this plan should include the following information:
Follow federal and state, local, tribal, and/or territorial (SLTT) recommendations regarding development of contingency plans for situations that may arise as a result of outbreaks, such as:
Plans should also consider and address the other steps that employers can take to reduce the risk of worker exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in their workplace. Read more here.
According to the Center for Disease Control website the CDC now recommends that individuals wear cloth face masks in public places such as grocery stores and pharmacies where social distancing is difficult. For instructions on how to make several types of cloth face coverings, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
According to an article in the New York Times, some materials are better than others for DIY masks. Experts tested different materials to determine effectiveness, and the results were summarized in the article What’s the Best Material for a Mask? by Tara Parker-Pope. The National Safety Education Center has created an infographic based on this information. Read the article: https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-homemade-mask-material-DIY-face-mask-ppe.html
The federal government is providing general guidance for the COVID-19 response. States and municipalities are adding their own responses based on local needs. To find out your state’s additional responses, visit these sites:
Learn more about the coronavirus with these free webinars:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention recorded this free webinar to answer 20 common questions about COVID-19. This webinar gives a foundation of general information about what COVID-19 is and what people should do about it. Be prepared to answer your employees’ questions. Watch Here
University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy recorded this free webinar to discuss the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US and elsewhere, the US national response, the “war zone” situation in overstretched hospitals, and the leadership of the WHO thus far. Watch Here
University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy recorded this free webinar to discuss how we got here and what to expect in the weeks and months to come. We also discuss potential immunity after infection with the coronavirus, testing shortages, and finally, how we can support each other and be good neighbors in this new world. Watch Here