Weeks after many states—like Texas, Florida, and Georgia—announced they were lifting COVID-19-related stay-at-home orders and phasing open sectors of their economies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly released detailed guidance in a 60-page document posted on its website. The three-phased approach proposes six indicators to assess readiness, including a “robust” testing program and decreases in newly reported infections. “While some communities will progress sequentially through the reopening phases, there is the possibility of recrudescence in some areas,” the CDC wrote in its guidance. “Given the potential for a rebound in the number of cases or level of community transmission, a low threshold for reinstating more stringent mitigation standards will be essential.”
It has been two months since agency officials held a coronavirus-related press conference or briefing. Once the White House’s task force was formed to address the pandemic earlier this year, the CDC halted its weekly briefings on the subject and stepped out of the limelight, just days after the first U.S. death was reported from the virus.