Aug 01, 2020
Is MLB’s Experience With COVID-19 A Signal Not To Open Schools, Businesses?
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Private school attended by Barron Trump prohibited from in-person learning until October as President pushes openings This Beloved Fast-Food Taco Restaurant Is Seeing Sales Plummet Is MLB’s Experience With COVID-19 A Signal Not To Open Schools, Businesses?
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Could Major League Baseball's experience with coronavirus be a warning about reopening schools and workplaces?© Provided by WCBS Radio New York
Professional baseball teams began playing games again in stadiums, without fans, this month. However, almost immediately, players began testing positive for the virus.
The Miami Marlins had over a dozen players test positive for the virus after playing the Philadelphia Phillies, prompting both teams to postpone a number of games.
WCBS 880 Mets broadcaster Howie Rose then speculated as to whether or not the season could continue with outbreaks beginning to occur.
Dr. David Hirschwerk, an infectious disease specialist at Northwell Health, spoke with WCBS 880's Lynda Lopez, saying what's happening in the MLB could very likely happen if schools were to reopen.
...listen to the audio...
"One of the lessons I think that we learned is, that when you try to open things up, particularly in areas of the country that are experiencing such high levels of illness, that there's a great risk for that'd be really stymied by what happened to the Marlins. I think it's not a surprise that if you're going to take any team that would have been affected, it would be the team that is in the part of the country that is currently experiencing such high levels of illness," Dr. Hirschwerk said. "I think that that type of experience could very well occur with other businesses or schools, if they are trying to open in parts of the country where they are also experiencing high levels of illness."
President Donald Trump had previously threatened to cut funds to schools that don't fully reopen for students and despite criticism from medical experts, schools across the country have been preparing to welcome students back in the fall.
However, Dr. Hirschwerk says what is happening in the MLB is a sign that "we should not be trying to open up businesses or schools that are in the midst of incredibly high levels of illness."
He pointed to the fact that Florida has a higher rate if illness per capita than just about any other part of the world.
"To think that you could open up schools or business widely in an area that is experiencing that, and not have a similar result, I think is just not realistic," Dr. Hirschwerk said.
While he says the New York area is "in very good shape right now," there is some concern for schools as well.
Just this week, a Westchester school that had reopened for in-person instruction during summer school was forced to close after three students and three staff members tested positive for the virus.
"I think that it should be recognized that as things open up, there are going to be cases that occur and so long as there's the ability to track those, to isolate the individuals that are infected, to trace their contacts and quarantine those people - that's going to be the way that we live with this virus until we get to the point where there is a vaccine and we're at a different stage," Dr. Hirschwerk said.
He suggests starting schools in a hybrid model is something that could be successful in areas that have the virus under control.
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This Bay Area company trains, certifies businesses with COVID-19 health guidelines
PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Before you enter a business, how do you know if the business is safe? For business owners, staying on top of ever-changing safety protocols can be challenging.
A new business launched in the Bay Area is designed to give assurances to both businesses and the consumer.
At the Save Energy offices in Petaluma, there are signs on nearly every wall showing their compliance with local safety regulations. The company specializes in window and door replacement and the signs are a direct result of the ever-changing rules put into place to comply with reopening requirements.
"We were off for seven weeks and we came back and it was pretty tentative. Are we doing the right thing?" says founder John Gorman.
Consumers are cautious of safety as well. ABC7 spoke with some outside a nearby restaurant who said safety is now always top of mind.
RELATED: Small business owners discuss effects of coronavirus pandemic -- COVID-19 Diaries
"The hope is everyone is listening to local authorities and guidelines," says the man.
This is exactly why HealthSafety Qualified was created. Jim Stein is the founder of the 20-year-old American Ratings Corporation, which certifies businesses for quality. He recognized the need for guidance on COVID-19 safety.
"When the pandemic hit, a lot of us in the community thought, how can we help? We thought, we can't make ventilators or masks but we're really good at certifying companies. What they need now is standards and training and testing to follow safety standards so they can keep their workers safe and they can keep homeowners safe," says Stein.
Certification is rigorous and takes several weeks with a laundry list of requirements, including educational training, PPE and supplies, the appointment of a chief safety officer at each business and periodic audits, customer surveys and surprise inspections.
All to provide an extra layer of assurance- for the business and customer that safety is a top priority.
RELATED: Reopening businesses reveal what operating under new COVID-19 guidelines look like -- COVID-19 Diaries
ABC7 News reached out to the Marin County Health Department which says from a business education standpoint, Health Safety Qualified is a good idea to help businesses stay on top of changing rules but reminds business owners that the certification is not necessary to do business in the county.
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