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A preliminary document authored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes advice from infection control experts on how to safely reopen amid coronavirus — and is more detailed than the plan released by the White House, Fox News has confirmed.
Fox News has obtained a copy of the draft CDC document. The guidance, which was shelved by the Trump administration, is still being re-examined and updated for future clearance before it will be released to the public. On Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testified before Congress that the guidelines would be released “soon,” but did not provide a timeline.
Like the White House guidelines, the CDC recommends entering phase one after a 14-day period of a downward trajectory of new Covid-19 cases. It calls for a robust testing program and 14 days of less than 20 percent positive tests. It also calls for ICU beds to be less than 80 percent full upon entering phase one.
While the White House recommends that states test 2 percent of their population before reopening and be able to test all symptomatic patients and vulnerable populations, the CDC recommends critical businesses have a 10 business day standby of one test per 10 employees.
One of the differences, however, is advice for when communities should allow nonessential travel. The CDC plan advises communities to avoid nonessential travel in all phases of reopening until the last one, after 42 continuous days of declining cases of coronavirus. The White House plan recommends communities “minimize” travel in Phase 1. In Phase 2, after 28 days of decline, “Non essential travel can resume.”
However, on Tuesday, the CDC’s web page on travel was still linked to the White House plan.
Another difference between the White House and CDC plan is that the epidemiologist-guided CDC plan acknowledges the possibility of a virus surge after beginning to reopen, and offers guidance to help communities decide when to shut down again amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.
While the White House has stressed that the ultimate decision to reopen is left to governors, the CDC guidelines caution states and regions against going it alone. The agency advises a national approach, saying policies in one state will affect others.
“Travel patterns within and between jurisdictions will impact efforts to reduce community transmission too. Coordination across state and local jurisdictions is critical — especially between jurisdictions with different mitigation needs,” the report states.
On Wednesday, the Senate’s top Democrat Chuck Schumer put forth a resolution calling for the CDC guidelines to be released.
“The president is not a doctor. The president is not a scientist. Many don’t even believe he’s a stable genius like he thinks he is. … Anybody who would say drink bleach, use bleach to protect yourself is not much of a medical expert,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., blocked the resolution, saying Schumer was making a “faux argument” and CDC recommendations are “overly prescriptive.”
“This is not about transparency. The White House is always going to be in favor of transparency. … This is about the minority leader trying to use the bureaucracy at the CDC to bog down the economy,” Braun said.
Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.