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Physicians Cautious On Potential Connecticut Reopening Plans

Cloe Poisson
CT Mirror

Gov. Ned Lamont hinted this week that he will announce changes to restaurant capacity and travel restrictions when he holds his regularly scheduled coronavirus media briefing on Thursday. He says the state is in a better place now that COVID-19 transmission rates have dropped.Dr. Asha Shah is an infectious diseases specialist who works at Stamford Hospital, in one of the areas hit hardest during the height of the pandemic last year.

She said it’s impossible to predict the right time to fully reopen the state, but she believes the metrics are in a good place for Lamont to try.

“I think stressing the importance of masking and social distancing and hand hygiene, regardless of your vaccination status, at this point needs to be the clear message,” she said. “If folks are going to be going out to these businesses ... those measures are so very important and crucial to preventing another surge.”

Shah said the sooner people are vaccinated, the less of a chance the virus has to mutate into more powerful strains.

Yale School of Medicine’s Dr. Manisha Juthani has been outspoken about the risks of indoor dining. She said the state is in an interesting place, with vaccinated residents and struggling businesses. But right now it’s unknown territory.

“If you had more than 10 people all vaccinated and masked together and distanced, I think that can be a much safer first expansion,” she said. “So I will be curious to see what it is the governor is hoping to do in terms what’s open next.”

On Monday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the U.S. is at risk of losing the progress it’s made in the fight against the virus due to the current level of cases and new strains being discovered.

Copyright 2021 Connecticut Public Radio

Ali Warshavsky
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