Returning to Normalcy: Four U.S. Milestones

coronavirus back to normalThe COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become one of the most impactful events in our lifetime. Each day, we wake up and wonder, “When will life return to normal?” It is a question that is routinely on everyone’s minds. 

Scientists agree that jumping the gun and reopening America prematurely could have a devastating effect. So, social distancing measures, non-essential business closures, etc. are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. 

Those who are looking for some kind of hard-stop may be interested to hear how experts see this playing out. Experts, including former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, say that these four milestones in the U.S. will be the best predictor of that timeline on a state-by-state basis.

  1. Hospitals Must Be Able to Treat All Hospitalized Patients Safely
  2. New Coronavirus Cases Must Fall Daily for 14 Days
  3. States Must Be Able to Test Anyone with Symptoms
  4. States Must Be Able to Monitor Confirmed Cases and their Contacts

Dr. Gottlieb worked alongside his collaborators, Dr. Caitlin Rivers, Dr. Mark McClellan, Lauren Silvis, and Dr. Crystal Watson, as part of this study.

Diving into these in a bit more detail, experts point out that states are experiencing wildly differing timelines when it comes to the virus. In some states, the curve is beginning to flatten, whereas, in other places, the crisis is only just starting. That is why each state’s timeline will vary.

Hospitals Must Be Able to Treat All Hospitalized Patients Safely

COVID-19 has proven to be a major burden on the healthcare system in our country. Many hospitals have been downright overwhelmed by the influx of patients requiring intensive care. Experts say that hospitals must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, including increasing their number of ICU and regular beds along with available ventilators.

New Coronavirus Cases Must Fall Daily for 14 Days

As Americans have continued to learn about Coronavirus, 14 has become a magic number of sorts. Experts say that two weeks is approximately how long the virus can lie dormant without triggering symptoms. Dr. Gottlieb points out that to contain any large outbreaks or avoid reigniting previous ones, life cannot return to “normal” until states have reported a sustained reduction in cases for 14 days. 
States Must Be Able to Test Anyone with Symptoms

Coronavirus testing in the U.S. was slow to start, but most states are now equipped with tests. That’s not to say that anyone who needs a test can get one. And experts say that for life to return to normal, states must be able to test anyone who is showing symptoms. At present, only those with worsening symptoms are getting tested. In their report, Dr. Gottlieb and his team said, “We estimate that a national capacity of at least 750,000 tests per week would be sufficient to move to case-based interventions when paired with sufficient capacity in supportive public-health infrastructure (e.g., contact tracing).”

States Must Be Able to Monitor Confirmed Cases and their Contacts

Because there are so many reported cases of Coronavirus domestically, isolation under the watch of health officials just isn’t a possibility. Experts caution that Coronavirus will likely continue to spread until a vaccine has been developed to prevent infection, or until a large swath of the population contracts the disease and develops an immunity to it. Social distancing continues to be the best way to curb the spread. And once a slowdown in cases has been seen and large numbers have immunity, it will be necessary for states to monitor confirmed cases and their contacts. This is to ensure that isolated cases don’t explode into additional outbreaks, or worse, a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nobody can say with any certainty when this will be over, nor can we accurately predict the future. However, we can lean on the professional expertise of health officials, doctors, and experts for useful information.  


Escrow is an essential services company, so we continue to be here for our clients in their time of need. If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to us. Our team would be happy to assist you in any way that we can. Stay well!