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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

On a Return to Normal: How Long?

Wharton Public Policy takes a look:

A Return to ‘Normal’: How Long Will the Pandemic Last?
Jul 14, 2020 North America

American consumers are crowding back into stores, restaurants and other places of business as states ease pandemic-related restrictions that strangled the economy for months. But a full return to normal isn’t likely to happen until November 2021, according to Ezekiel (Zeke) Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton professor of health care management.

“That’s your date,” Emanuel said. “I’m generally a very optimistic guy, and I’m being realistic here.”
Emanuel believes that’s how long it will take for an effective vaccine to be distributed widely enough to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that in the U.S. has infected more than 3.2 million people and caused over 134,000 deaths.

Until then, he said, corporate employees should continue to work from home as much as possible, because enclosed spaces and prolonged exposure to other people increase the likelihood of transmission. In the case of frontline workers and others who cannot work remotely, including employees at retail stores, a detailed protocol should be implemented to protect both workers and customers – such as mandatory masks, plexiglass dividers, and regular sanitizing of hands and surfaces.

Emanuel shared his advice with retail executives and founders who joined an exclusive video conference in late June hosted by Wharton’s Jay H. Baker Retailing Center. During the hour-long call, he answered questions on a wide range of topics related to the pandemic, from how often cash registers and other store surfaces should be cleaned to the safety of air travel to whether schools should reopen. Emanuel, an oncologist and bioethicist, served as a special advisor for health policy to the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama White House and is a key architect of the Affordable Care Act. He’s also a prolific author and a regular columnist for The New York Times.    ... "

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