The ability for parts of the United States to safely and effectively begin to lift coronavirus restrictions will depend on the country’s capacity to aggressively test for and trace new cases of the virus, Bill Gates said Sunday.

Here’s what he said:

Warning: Just because some areas looking to reopen have experienced relatively small outbreaks doesn’t mean they’re not at risk, Gates said. Many are concerned that reopening too soon could prompt a second wave of infections

In stages: It will require thinking critically about which elements of society are most essential to get back to work, implementing safety measures as they are reopened and ensuring diagnostic testing and contact tracing are in place.

Finding the cause of a rebound: “What we don’t know is, (if) we go slightly back to normal, which activities create the risk of a rebound?” Gates said. 

Ramp up testing: “We need to put in place a very dense testing regime so you would detect that rebound going back into exponential growth very quickly and not wait for the ICUs to fill up and there to be a lot of deaths. If you see the hot spot, you kind of understand the activities causing that,” he said.

Planning for reopening: States should focus on “high value” segments of the economy such as schools, manufacturing and construction, and should figure out how to operate those things with masks and social distancing, Gates said.

Continue tracking: Once some schools and businesses get back to work, communities should continue to track the effects on infection rates, he said. But it will take time. “The inequality has gotten greater in education, so if we can figure out how to do K through 12 in the fall, that would be good,” Gates said.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has studied pandemics for years and is now involved in fighting coronavirus.

Read more: CNN News


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