New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey will quarantine visitors from hotspots from now on. This mandatory quarantine is for 14 days and is applicable to anyone entering from a COVID-19 hotspot. The governors of each of these North-eastern states revealed this on June 24. As of now Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Washington, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Utah are hotspots. They have a high rate of infection. Hence, people from such states will have to follow the quarantine advisory. Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York himself has confirmed this. He says that there is no ban on people from these states from entering New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey. They will, however, have to follow this new doctrine and go under a mandatory quarantine.
Why Quarantine visitors from hotspots
Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey says that this is a smart move and this is necessary. He says that they have taken their people through trying times and things seem better now. Phil says that they want to stop a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases in these regions. Nobody wants to undergo another wave of COVID-19 cases. He also adds that the virus has the potential to flare up again and cause widespread misery.
The governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, also weighed in on this. He says that this regional planning is vital in order to keep the Coronavirus from spreading further. Lamont adds that the Northeast area has taken the threat from COVID-19 really seriously. This has allowed them to reduce the rate of infection and lower the positivity rate. But the Northeast is not in isolation. There is a resurgence of cases and community spread in other parts of the country. This move of regional cooperation is an effort to contain the spread of the virus. The rise in the number of cases has fallen in recent days in the Northeast region. The governors intend to keep it that way.
Not a fixed list
The list of states that are on the list for mandatory quarantines is not fixed. The nine states belonging to the West and South region are on the list based on their infection rates. More specifically, the consideration is based on the seven-day average of infection rates on a rolling basis. The list will itself change as the infection rates of different states change. All states above a benchmark infection rate will be put on that quarantine list. The Northeast region will give daily updates regarding who is above the benchmark infection rate.
The governors expect no backlash since they believe this is in line with common sense. They say this is done in the spirit of cooperation and community to keep people healthy. Cuomo says that they understand that people from areas with high infection rates may want to visit the region. Hence, the government will do everything in their power to help such people. He also says that this is not just an announcement. The government will take steps to implement this rule. This not just an announcement to placate the fears of the people but rather it is a practical solution.
Cuomo has said that in case someone violates the quarantine rules, the government will step in to enforce it. The measures to enforce the quarantine include imposing institutional quarantine and fines. The fines will range from $2,000 to $10,000. State officials have also assured that they won’t stop anyone from entering. Cuomo also says that this is a quarantine and not a blockage like the federal government intended to do. He says that the US has never seen a blockage since the civil war. He also adds that imposing a blockage can even start wars.
Enforcing the Quarantine
Another thing that Cuomo believes is that the community will come together to impose this quarantine. He believes that colleagues at meetings, police officers and even hotel clerks will find violators and report them. They will come forward and report that they know someone who is violating the quarantine rules. Action will be then be taken if the person indeed is from the states in the quarantine list. After 14 days of quarantine, anyone is free to move about as they please. Even if they are from the states on the quarantine visitors list, they can roam freely after 14 days of quarantine.
You may face a judicial order and institutional quarantine if you violate the quarantine rules. You will also have to pay for this institutional quarantine as well as pay the accompanying fines. The advisory is a step in the right direction but is not as rigorous as the measures imposed by other countries. As of today, countries around the world perform aggressive tracking and contact tracing of travelers. They ensure that travelers obey the quarantine rules and don’t infect others.
The government in Hong Kong uses phone apps and wrist monitors to ensure that travelers stay 14 days in quarantine. The government of South Korea too, is taking aggressive steps to stem the spread of COVID-19. They use aggressive contact tracing and rampant testing to curtail the COVID-19 spread. In fact, South Korea goes a step further and uses credit card data, security footage from cameras, and GPS data.
New Death Projections
The CDC has revised its US death projections on 24th June. It says that the death toll in the US can hit 150,000 as soon as 18th July. The CDC uses 20 different computational models to come up with its projections. It says that 13 states will witness higher death tolls in the coming 4 weeks. These death tolls will surpass the ones witnessed during the last 4 weeks. Other states will have more or less the same death rates as earlier and maybe even a slight decrease.
This move to quarantine visitors from COVID-19 hotspots is no doubt a step in the right direction. The government needs to step up and enforce this for it to be effective. Moreover, public participation is key for this move to be a success.