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COVID-19 Advisory: New York ~ Chinese Tracking ~ Guide to Errands ~ Photo Op

April 16, 2020
To: All Domestic Employees
From: Pandemic Working Group
Re: COVID-19: New York ~ Chinese Tracking ~ Guide to Errands ~ Photo Op

New York Extends Restrictions

Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he was extending COVID restriction orders within the state through May 15. In a state that has over 220,000 confirmed cases, the governor predicted a phased reopening in coordination with neighboring states and entreated businesses to “reimagine your workplace” and to consider how many people can continue to work from home and still be competitive. He also described testing and tracing as a “new frontier” for New York. According to the governor, due to health measures being observed by New Yorkers, the rate of transmission, or R factor, has dropped from 2+ (that is, each infected person transmitting to two or more people) to 0.9. Once the transmission factor drops below 1, the pandemic enters a state of contraction. Governor Cuomo’s extension parallels that announced earlier in the week by French President Emmanuel Macron. On a related note, tomorrow we will report on federal guidelines for reopening the states; President Donald Trump is describing those guidelines this evening.

COVID Tracking System
In the vein of tracking and tracing, CNN reports that in early March, Beijing launched a tri-color app supported by mobile pay platforms Alipay and Tencent (used by hundreds of millions of people in that region) to help manage the pandemic. Users are given a health code after providing personal identification information and a recent travel history (including contact with COVID patients) and, from time to time, are required to tick boxes relating to COVID symptoms. When the user is traveling or entering public places, the QR code reads green (for free to travel), amber (for 7 day quarantine) or red (for 14 day quarantine). Since their initial launch, these apps have been rolled out into over 300 cities. In response to glitches, the regions have worked to standardize their rules and to share data. While this sort of technology would likely raise privacy issues in the West, it does demonstrate the lengths to which some countries are going to track, trace and isolate. 

CDC Guide to Day-to-Day Activities
The CDC continues to develop helpful information on not only technical but also practical matters relating to COVID-19. Below we have captured their recommendations on errands like filling your gas tank or taking food deliveries.

Finding a Rainbow in All of This
Finally, with the news crowded by alarming photos and contentiousness, it is calming to escape to more tranquil places. The photo to the left by Cessna Kutz, taken at Lake Sammamish in Washington state, shows a rare optical phenomenon known as the “horizontal rainbow,” which occurs when the sun is at an angle of over 58 degrees and shines through cirrus clouds in cool temperatures. Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote, “The world will be saved by beauty.” If so, then this would be a good start.

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COVID-19 Advisory: New York ~ Chinese Tracking ~ Guide to Errands ~ Photo Op