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This is Not Over: In the Wake of the Virgin Island’s Reopening

“Well, you know more people die from the flu than Covid.” Well though that is statistically true. The complete danger and depth of the Covid-19 is yet to be fully explored. The United States Virgin Islands currently has 66 confirmed cases, and 4 deaths as of May 03, 2020. Since April Coronavirus cases grew exponentially. Governor Albert Bryan Jr. announced the territory’s five-phased reopening plan including several non-essential businesses on Monday May 4, and beaches being reopened.

This five phased system is:

– The red phase, which is the most severe, would entail a mandatory quarantine and curfew. The governor said this would only occur if there was a mass community spread of the coronavirus.

– The orange phase, stay-at-home, is a control phase, what the territory is in now. This entails limited quarantine and the allowance of only essential workers and businesses to operate.

– The yellow phase is the safer-at-home phase that will start on May 4 and will allow some non-essential businesses to open, but not all. The governor said the territory will likely move from the yellow phase to the blue phase by June 1 but may stay in this phase throughout the summer if needed.

“I really don’t see us going back to any gatherings over 250 people until we find a vaccine, or it completely dies out,” Bryan said.

– The blue phase is an “open door” policy allowing all businesses to open with some restrictions, but still not permitting gatherings greater than 50. Reservations for hotels would be permitted and “we would start welcoming back tourists,” Bryan said. Schools and nursing facilities would be open. Facial masks would no longer be required but recommended at this stage.

– Finally, the green phase will be the territory’s new normal and will only be entered when there are no longer any documented cases of COVID-19. At this point all businesses would be able to open and large gatherings resume.

Monday’s opening of businesses may give the Virgin Island’s an economic boost but the potential ramifications are things that should be considered. Coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has been on record stating that opening the government would be a significant risk

Dr. Faucci Continued, “There’s no doubt in my mind that when you pull back mitigation, you’re going to start seeing cases crop up here and there,” he said. “If you’re not able to handle them, you’re going to see another peak, a spike, and then you almost have to turn the clock back to go back to mitigation.”

That common phrase aside the Coronavirus is not the flu! It is a deadly contagious disease that effects are still not fully understood by scientists. In other states such as Georgia or even countries such as China have seen new outbreaks of the same disease throughout their regions. The open-and-shut economy will likely cause the Virgin Islands to raise its cases in an ebb and flow. However, during that ebb and flow to be clear Virgin Island lives could be lost, and even more, could be affected with sickness.

Contrary to the relief of the social distancing standards, Please still respect social distancing standards. “Just Stay home, if you don’t want to go out!” That idea has been thrown around quite a bit recently but is a dangerously misinformed sentiment. If cases suddenly rise in the Virgin Islands there is a general worry if the local hospitals are prepared for a possible emerging pandemic. There has never been a situation like this in the modern world, and although a phased release plan is more and more common all over the world, Virgin Islanders should keep in mind that the pandemic is still happening, and it is still early on and Covid-19 affects can continue easily through 2021.

Please be safe out there its not over, everything is not normal. Please respect social distancing.