Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Growing discontent over Montgomery County's data-free coronavirus reopening strategy

Montgomery County's "roadmap" for reopening
doesn't define any targets to be met
There has been growing concern over the last few days about Montgomery County's blueprint for reopening, after most of the state entered a phase one reopening last Friday, while the Montgomery County Council passed an indefinite extension of Stay-at-Home orders. Prominent business leaders like David Blair, business owners, and even some municipal elected officials have asked what Montgomery officials' precise plan and data measurements are. The issue is separate from the question of whether or not a continued lockdown is wise; the point of controversy for many is that there is currently no roadmap or metric for reopening the economy.

With a new wave of mass layoffs hitting the county, discontent with the rudderless direction is rising in many quarters. After receiving some blowback, Montgomery County Councilman Evan Glass posted a Powerpoint-style graphic (shown above) on Facebook and Twitter. "Here's the roadmap," Glass declared authoritatively. But the "roadmap" only gave a vague wishlist of trends, not the specific targets that would be met, nor the specific length of time those targets would have to be met to reopen. Five different "sustained decrease" trends are listed, but unlike federal and state plans, the time-span of "sustained" is only defined for one ("new cases in an environment of increased testing" - and what qualifies as "an enviroment of increased testing" is undefined).

Glass promised a dashboard of County-level coronavirus statistics heretofore withheld from the public would be online later this week. But that is a totally separate issue. Raw data doesn't tell us what the plan is, and what the data needs to show us in what timeframe, to reopen.

Again, that's not to say it is wise or unwise to reopen now. But it would be wise to have an actual plan with targets that can be met or not met. After all, we may be facing a devastating second wave of hospitalizations in about three weeks, if Gov. Larry Hogan was premature in loosening Stay-at-Home orders last Friday. Maryland did not meet all of the federal criteria for reopening, so there is a risk.

The future is uncertain. But we need leadership to tell us how we are going to tackle the problem, which is the only certainty we can have at this point.


Anonymous said...

We need leadership from the TOP and we have none. There should be a national strategy and there is nothing but incoherent word salad.
Make America Sick Again.

Anonymous said...

Talk about TDS -- many other states started lifting restrictions in recent weeks, the governor of MD has relaxed state-wide restrictions, but it is Trump's fault that the Montgomery County Council passed an indefinite extension of the stay-at-home order without providing any guidance on reopening. And why would a national one-size-fits-all strategy make any sense given that the number of cases and deaths per capita have been significantly higher in some places (mostly densely populated places like NYC and surrounding areas) than others? If Trump had imposed a national strategy, the previous commenter would have accused him of being a dictator and blamed him for every single death. And it wasn't Trump who decided it would be a good idea to force nursing homes to accept infected people. The Montgomery County Council's incompetence is Trump's fault only in the sense that whatever policy Trump favors, the Council has a knee-jerk reaction to do the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Elrich bungled this. It's fine to set re-opening guidelines, but then post publicly the data for each of those targets every day. They don't even post the data for more of the benchmarks.

Anonymous said...

To the first commentator, Please read the constitution.
When President Trump wanted states to reopen the Democrats screamed States Rights. So he then said ok States do your own thing.
The Blue States are determined to stay closed indefinitely ( to hurt Trump) however, they are only hurting themselves.
President Trump has provided leadership. Look at Florida compared to NY and other so called Blue States. Florida protected the most vulnerable and opened the state. Businesses are beginning to flourish without a rise in Virus cases. Their elderly survived while NY threw covid patients into nursing homes and will stay closed forever. Now that companies realize people can work from home why will they stay in high state taxes like Maryland or NY,
The President needs to move the govt out of DC. The govt dole workers support Maryland and Virginia liberal TDS insanity.

Why will we continue to stay in high taxed Blue States when we can go to red state no taxes States like Florida and Texas?

Anonymous said...

The MOST effective approach to a rapidly contagious virus that is completely different than any virus seen the last 100yrs is CONTAINMENT! If the spread had been contained back in Feb by testing and then ISOLATING the few who were positive at that time, we would not now have 1.5m people walking around with the virus in their bodies having the ability to keep spreading it. If anyone of us spilled a liquid on our table top, the 1st thing we do is grab paper towels to try to stop the spread. If we strip away who is the President and whether or not we like him and focus on the fact that we did NOTHING at the start to stop the flow of virus. America once a world leader BLEW IT! SKorea handled it right we did NOT. The evidence speaks for itself. As to MoCO moving sick into nursing homes, it was an effort to get them out of the general population, another words ISOLATE the infected into central places. MoCo is simply trying to do what should have been done as a nation.