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The big question facing communities across the US today is not "open now or stay closed indefinitely?"

It's "how do we begin reopening SAFELY?"

I am proud to share a new tool to help communities answer that question:
We have developed this in consultation with @MayorJenny and the city of Seattle, who are building elements of it into their analysis and planning as they begin to carefully reopen.
The tool takes a more sophisticated approach to risk than the federal gating criteria and the plans in use in some states.

It borrows a risk management concept from humanitarian relief aid, known as "criticality."
Aid orgs decide daily how to weigh life-saving programs against life-threatening risks. They don't aim to eliminate risk, but to manage it thoughtfully.

So they weigh degree of risk against criticality of an activity. How many lives will it save? Can it be safely delayed? etc.
Cities across America now face similar decisions. How risky is reopening X, and how critical is it to reopen? Is it urgent now or can it wait?

Importantly, those risks are different at different phases of reopening - so the phase criteria must be as well.
The federal guidelines miss this important element. Their gating criteria treat each phase of reopening as starting from the same baseline. All you need to do to enter the next phase is get back to the original baseline criteria.

That's potentially dangerous.
Risks magnify considerably with each reopening phase. The potential transmission spike when schools reopen or indoor gatherings resume is greater than risk of allowing outdoor activities or socially-distanced retail.

So in each phase, the criteria must be INCREASINGLY stringent.
Otherwise you're taking increasing risks from the same baseline, and so magnifying rather than managing your risk.

So the tool outlines phase criteria calibrated to the specific risks of each phase.
The tool outlines target metrics and required capacities across a range of different readiness elements:

- the local infection rate
- testing and surveillance
- contact tracing and case investigation
- health care readiness
- protection of at-risk populations
And outlines risk levels for each phase:

1: Current lockdowns

2: Initial re-opening; prioritize low-risk and moderate/high criticality services

3: Economic recovery; wide re-opening of all but highest-risk activities

4: New normal; fullest feasible openness prior to vaccine
The intent is to enable cities and communities to make an informed assessment of their level of risk as they contemplate how much to reopen - and to orient them toward the readiness targets they need to build toward in order to enter each new phase safely.
The full interactive and downloadable tool is available at - take a look!
And huge appreciation to the amazing team that partnered to pull this together!
@BethCameron_DC @RebeccaKatz5 @_JessicaABell @mattrbo @HayleyAnneDC @EllieGraeden @CGDev @NTI_WMD @georgetown_ghss
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