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COVID-19: Only These Four States - All In Northeast - Meet Safety Benchmarks For Reopening

A new study says only four states have satisfied four out of five benchmarks to reopen the economy safely.
A new study says only four states have satisfied four out of five benchmarks to reopen the economy safely. Photo Credit: Pixabay

A new study has found that only four states are safely reopening their economies.

The states -- New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire -- have met at least four out of the five benchmarks that show a community is making strong progress in battling the spread of COVID-19, according to a Vox analysis of COVID rates and best practice recommendations.

The Vox study, published Wednesday, July 8, found states are not prepared to fight a future wave of the pandemic. Reopening states too quickly puts people at a greater risk of infection and, possibly, death, the study argued.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts meets three out of the five benchmarks. 

On Monday, July 13, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Boston is entering Phase 3 of reopening. Phase 3 sets standards for reopening gyms and museums among other public places. The rest of the state entered Phase 3 a week ago. Boston was delayed due to testing concerns, according to the governor’s office.

“It is only because of the hard work, diligence, and dedication of so many people in the commonwealth, that have put in the individual work to stop the spread - that in many ways is why we’ve been successful,” Baker said.

In addition to Massachusetts, there are 13 other states and Washington, D.C., that have reached two or three of the metrics. The other 31 states have reached one or none.

There are five achievements that most health and political officials agree should be met before reopening a state’s economy. They are:

  • Infections are down by 10 percent from the rate two weeks ago;
  • There are fewer than four new cases per 100,000 people per day;
  • At least 150 new tests per 100,000 people per day are conducted;
  • The daily positive test rate should be below 5 percent;
  • And 40 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) hospital beds should be available to accommodate a potential influx of COVID-19 patients.

Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey have met four benchmarks. They have yet to knock down the new infection rate by 10 percent compared to two weeks ago. Of all 50 states, only New Hampshire has accomplished this.

Massachusetts has not reached the two-week, 10 percent threshold. In addition, the state has not demonstrated it has the testing capacity to conduct 150 new tests per 100,000 people per day.

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