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As Businesses Reopen, Adler Reminds Austinites: We're Not 'Out Of The Woods' Yet

Austin Mayor Steve Adler speaks during a news conference announcing the cancellation of South by Southwest on March 6.
Julia Reihs
Austin Mayor Steve Adler speaks during a news conference announcing the cancellation of South by Southwest on March 6.

KUT Morning Edition host Jennifer Stayton talked with Austin Mayor Steve Adler about how the city is responding to Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening orders and to answer some of your questions about the city’s response to the pandemic.

You can watch the full conversation below:

You can read a transcript of the conversation below:

Jennifer Stayton: So I want to start with orders here in Austin and at the state level. Last Friday, you extended Austin’s stay-at-home order through the end of May. And Gov. Greg Abbott has been issuing some new orders in the past several weeks and has started allowing some businesses to reopen with limited capacity. So it's getting a little confusing — the different levels and the different orders. So first of all, what exactly is going on for Austinites right now? What orders and what rules are we living under right now in Austin? 

Steve Adler: There is very little substantively different between the order that I issued, and the order that the governor issued. We made our city’s order pretty much comply and follow with his. The difference, I think, is more messaging than anything else.

The governor's original order urged people to stay at home unless they were engaged in an essential business. It urged them to avoid large groups. It urged no gatherings and urged people to maintain social distancing and wear face coverings and to stay basically with your household unit.

The governor's order remains exactly the same, except that, whereas the exception before was just for essential businesses, now the exception is for essential businesses and reopened businesses. But the governor's overarching message that's in the first paragraph of his order remains that people should stay at home. People should avoid gatherings, you should do the social distancing. So my order says the same thing. You should stay at home. You should avoid gathering. It's exactly the same. 

The only difference is, is that I speak more about the general proposition and the governor over the last week has spoken more about the exceptions. But the general proposition and the exceptions are the same in both our orders. There are a couple differences. They're small. They relate to masks. They relate to a recommendation that we made for restaurants to help with contact tracing. But by and large, the orders are the same. 

Stayton: And we're going to get into a lot of that in detail coming up here as we talk. I do want to ask, so last Friday, in announcing the extension of the city's orders, you said the governor has started some of these limited reopenings, you said, sooner and more quickly than you would have wanted for the city of Austin. What specifically are your concerns about the timetable that the governor now has the state on? 

Adler: You know, we're trying to be guided by the science and the data, the scientists and the physicians, and what they tell us is that we have been successful in tamping down this virus in Austin because through our actions we have decreased the infectiousness transfer of this virus by 94%, compared to what our normal behavior would be.

We now know if we do what we have done at a 94% level, we can stop this virus pretty much in its tracks. Well, we don't know what happens if we only do half of that. What if instead of 94% reduction, we only reduce the physical interactions and the effectivity by 40%? What happens then? Or what happens if it's 70%? What happens then? Now the modelers can tell us that at 40%, the virus comes back and it comes back at this speed and with this fury. And if you're at 70% and comes back not with that same fury, not with the same speed, but you still have a peak that you then have to react to.

But what no one knows is what behaviors equate to 40% and what behaviors equate 70%. We just don't know that. And what I would have done is that I would have announced some changes and then I would have given us the three or four weeks to be able to see how those new behaviors impact the spread of infection in our city before I started ramping up and doing additional things. 

Beyond that, one way that you keep that percentage high of reduced infections is by really having your your testing capacity built out so that if anybody in the city gets the virus, you can find them right away, get them tested, get them isolated before they can spread it to anyone else. And we're not at the level of testing that the governor wants us to be at. Certainly not the level of testing that we want to be at. We're building up that capability, but we're not there quite yet. 

And then contact tracing. Again, we can increase the percentage of the reduced infectiousness of this virus if when someone becomes a confirmed case, we can find out within hours everybody they were in contact with over the last 14 days. So we can go to those people and say, “Hey, wait. Get tested,” or “If you have a scratchy throat, it might be more than just allergies. Get tested right away or even go quarantine for 14 days to make sure that you don't accidentally spread it to somebody else.” And our contact tracing capability is not as strong as I would have liked it to have been when we started reopening commerce. 

Stayton: Well, let's talk about that testing capacity. Austin has been at about 2,000 tests a week. I know I've heard the desired goal is at least 2,000 per day, and we are not there yet. You said Friday that Austin will be ramping up that testing capacity as businesses continue to reopen. When will that ramping up happen? And what is keeping Austin from having that much larger capacity that we really need to be tracking all of this? 

Adler: Well, I think it started already, and our capacity is up this week, over last week and last week up over the week before that. We now have the capacity to do well over 2,000 tests a week, probably closer to 1,000 tests a day. But we continue to push to be able to expand that even more. In fact, we have some testing facilities right now that have extra capacity where we have more tests than we have people that want to take those tests. So we're beginning to lower the bar for what it takes to be able to qualify and have a test taken so that we can get more people tested. 

You know, historically, the reason we haven't had enough tests is there weren’t enough tests to go around. There were only a couple testing labs that were supplying the test, and they didn't have enough capacity for everybody that wanted to have tests. And even if they could, there was a shortage of the supply, couldn't get the reagent to put a swab in after the test was taken to transport it, or we didn't have enough of the swabs to be able to take and use the lab capacity that existed. 

We now have more companies that are doing testing, doing the lab work. So we're actually getting results back more quickly than we were able to at one point in time. One point in time, we would send it to the lab and it would be several days before we would get a test back. We've entered into new contracts with new labs to get 24 hour reporting. 

So there just weren't enough companies that were doing it, and there wasn't sufficient supply. That is now being backfilled. And I anticipate that we're going to be able to get to where we need to on the number of tests. We're just not there quite yet. 

Stayton: So testing has been a subject of discussion for weeks, if not months, and lack of testing — we need more testing. It's surprising to hear that the current capacity is not even being utilized, that there are tests out there that people aren't taking. Why aren't all of the tests being used? If we have increasing, increasing, increasing capacity? Why have we not even hit the level of what we do have available? 

Adler: You know, I'm not exactly sure the answer to that question. It could be that people are not aware that they can sign up and get a free test, that they don't need a doctor in order to be able to sign up and go through the testing process. Part of the issue, I think, was that a lot of people who get the virus are asymptomatic, so they don't know that they have the virus. Part of it was that we set a bar, so not everybody who thought that they had symptoms could go get a test. You actually had to have pretty heavy symptoms to be able to do that. So now we're lowering the bar so that more people can qualify through the assessment to be able to have a test taken. 

Stayton: So if there are known places of clusters — we know there are some senior living facilities and nursing homes where they have them in clusters, we know some construction sites in town have been hot spots. If there are places where we know there are clusters of cases, or places like grocery stores where there are vulnerable folks working and they're seeing people coming in all the time, if we've got capacity, why not just test those folks? Why can't we just say, let's test grocery store workers, let's test at all construction sites? Is there anything keeping a proactive system for testing people even if they're asymptomatic, but we know they are in a vulnerable spot?

Adler: The answer to that is no. And I think we need to be doing more of that. And we have started doing that. So we've started going into nursing homes now and just testing everybody in the nursing homes. We've started going into construction sites and just testing everybody at the construction sites. We have a team right now that's working up a longer term strategy protocol for testing to do exactly that.

Also to see if we should be working in protocols or uses of the antigen tests or the other kinds of tests that are on the market, that test not [for] the current presence of the virus, but the antigens that are produced to fight the virus. So we're moving in that direction right now and for exactly that reason. 

Stayton: When do you expect that sort of larger strategic testing plan to be out there? Can you say any more specifics that might be in it in addition to perhaps antigen testing, more widespread testing? Anything else you can tell us about that plan? 

Adler: I think that it increases the number. It's making sure that the tests are accessible. You know, in the middle of the process, we started moving more and more testing sites further east to make sure that we had testing sites that are more and more accessible to the populations that needed it the most. I would suspect that probably within the next couple of weeks there'll be a written strategic plan that is public. But we've already started the strategic piloting of those kinds of testing that you're talking about. 

You know, part out of this challenge with this virus is that a lot of the things that we're using right now, the tools that we want, we're building as we go through it. We did not have the capacity and we did not have the procedures already set up to get all the data in one place. I mean, it was a little bit of a lift just to try and figure out who I was giving tests, where in our city and get all those test results reported. There's a lot of reporting that's required to be given to the state, but the state has a huge backlog in reporting those numbers back to the local jurisdictions and we couldn't wait for that kind of result. We started then pulling together on a daily call the big players that were giving the tests in our city. But then each of them were getting those test results and they were independently tracking different information. So it took us a long while to be able to set up a system. So they got regular reporting of race and ethnicity with respect to tests that were given, with respect to who's being admitted and who's in intensive care units or hospitalized. 

Some people had that information and would report that information by sending fax in or handwritten notes coming back in as opposed to having a single ability to be able to just go online and report that data and to have that report tied into their functions in that hospital or that clinic so that people weren't spending all their time generating data, but it was just being extracted. We're creating a lot of those systems as we work through this. 

Stayton: Is that not something that a city has in its playbook already? I mean, does the city's public health office have some kind of plan already in place, though, anticipating that some day a virus may hit or a pandemic may hit? We hope it's not very frequently, but is that not something that a city has in some form in its playbook already? 

Adler: The closest we had in our playbook to this was an anthrax attack on the city. But that also is a different kind of attack than a pandemic. So, no, we did not have a fleshed out plan to be able to deal with the pandemic — it didn't exist in our country. That's why nobody had the supplies that they needed, the ability to turn that on. But we do have people that were very cooperative in the Department of Health. It was very proactive on this. Also, we were one of the first cities to move from just keeping track of tests and starting to keep track of hospitalizations because we were able to pivot quickly. And I think that's held us in really good stead. 

Stayton: It must be a bit frustrating, though, when you talk about planning and to say we hope to have or expect to have that sort of next strategic testing plan ready in a few weeks, knowing that a period of weeks is a time of X number more cases and likely X number more deaths from COVID-19 related complications. That's got to be a point of frustration, I'm sure, knowing that it's weeks — and weeks mean more illness and likely more death. 

Adler: It is frustrating that to have all the information and data at your fingertips and it's going to be a week or two, not several weeks before we have that plan. 

But we have through this whole process been involved in testing and making strategic decisions about where testing would go for exactly as you pointed out, that we were in the nursing homes, we were on the construction sites. So we have been doing testing. We have been strategic in our testing. What I really want is kind of the overall strategic plan that takes a look at not only what are we doing now, but what are we doing under different scenarios over the next two, three, four, five, six months. And the truth is, is that when this hit, everybody is dealing with the fire immediately in front of them, not really having the ability to be able to take this step back. So that's the missing element for me. 

But we have been strategic with what we’ve been doing. That’s why we've been doing the pilots in the nursing homes and at the construction sites. 

Stayton: You mentioned construction sites. We did get a question from an audience member about construction sites who wanted to know what will be done to ensure construction sites are abiding by safety protocols and making it known when a worker gets sick? Is this something that the code department is proactively monitoring? If not, when will they start? And is there a way to make those cases known by zip code? What is the situation with construction sites right now, knowing that at first they were limited in Austin, but by one of the governor's orders they were all allowed to open under certain rules? What's the situation with that right now? 

Adler: All construction sites are open because of the governor's order. But under the city's order, there are certain required mitigation steps that have to be taken on construction sites that we developed both with worker groups and with the industry. And they were incorporated into the order that I then issued in response to the governor's order opening up construction. We do have code enforcement that is going out and taking enforcement action. 

But, you know, this provision, as with all provisions of these orders, ultimately will either succeed or not succeed based on the culture of our city and individual choices. We do not have enough police officers and sheriff's deputies to arrest everyone and find people that are not doing this well. The same thing is true with social distancing and maintaining 6 feet, which are also in the order. And you know, there is a provision that says it is mandatory to wear face cover, and we can't enforce that with a criminal or civil penalty, but we shouldn't have to. These are things that we should be doing as a city. And frankly, this city did a really good job of hunkering down. Of only going out when it was essential to go out from working at home. During that period of time, there were still a lot of people that were going to work. You know, clerks in the grocery store. Shelves were still being stocked. Water was still running and electricity was still on. We still had a lot of people that were out. And I would still get photos emailed to me of groups that seemed to be too close together in our parks and other kinds of settings. 

So it's clear that our behavior was not perfect, but the modelers tell us we achieved a 94% reduction in physical interactions. So that was good enough for us to be able to to really tamp down, stop this virus in its tracks. And so that same approach ultimately is what's going to work or not work on our construction sites. 

Stayton: So it kind of feels like there was a shift to when the governor started issuing some new orders and allowing certain businesses to reopen and a shift at the state level of it's safe to do some things with limited capacity. But we were hearing you and Judge Eckhardt say Friday that you were wanting to be slower with those, maybe start reopening after a few more weeks, if not another month or so. Those are kind of mixed messages about what's okay, what's safe to do. I think people are processing those still. It's kind of mixed messages. Not necessarily any specifics of an order, but just a very general sense. How do you sort of work against that or try to get everybody to follow when, you know, federal, state and local all seem to be coming from slightly different places about what's OK to do and when it's OK to do it? 

Adler: Take the the face coverings, for example, because I think that's a really good example. All of the scientists tell us that if you're going outside right now and you're around anybody else, you should be wearing your face covering. Period. It’s recommended by the federal government. At the press conference that the governor had, he specifically told people they should wear their face covering. The Lieutenant Governor, in his moment, chose to remind people that they should be wearing face coverings. Everybody agrees that's an important thing to do. 

But yet the governor has said that cities were not able to enforce face coverings with criminal or civil penalties. Not like we were arresting people or fining people anyhow, but just the fact that it was mandatory, even though we weren't doing that, sent a very clear message that everybody should be wearing face coverings. It's clear that people should. It doesn't protect you when you wear a face covering, it protects the people around you. And then, quite frankly, if everyone around you wore face coverings as well, then you would also be protected. Because they're wearing it, not you. 

But in any event, I think that the message became very confused when the governor did that. On the one hand, he was telling everybody to wear face coverings. On the other hand, people heard what he said as saying we don't need to do that anymore. It's not an important thing to do. And I think that's really unfortunate. I think it's that kind of mixed messaging that is confusing people right now. 

This virus is just as infectious as it was back in March when we first started taking our steps and that has not changed, but the messaging around that, I think, as we begin to reopen things begins to confuse people because it makes them think that we're out of the woods and we're not. The challenge even becomes greater when you recognize that you can get infected with this virus and not have a symptom for a week. And as the symptoms begin to grow, it could easily be two weeks before you're actually feeling down, that you've decided this isn't an allergy and it's maybe something more than that. So we don't know and can't look and see what is happening in our community because of the changed policies that took place two weeks ago or a week ago, a week to 10 days ago. So I would like for us to wait and see what it meant to open restaurants by 25% before we moved to open them by 50% so that we had that information. 

But the mixed message, I think, is what's confusing people. 

Stayton: So we're getting questions from folks who are watching and listening this morning, and here's a question somewhat related to that. Somebody was out and about this weekend and she says there were lots of people at restaurants this weekend without masks and who were not social distancing. How can you require businesses to comply? So is there anything that the city can do? You've been discussing masks and all the other recommendations. I think, again, sort of point of confusion. I think people aren't clear exactly what the city can say and can't say for something like a restaurant, thinking not only about the people who might go as patrons, but the folks who work there, who are seeing people coming in and interacting with the population and obviously need to be protected as best as possible, too. 

Adler: So the governor said that we couldn't have criminal and civil penalties associated with face masks, but he didn't didn't stop us from having criminal or civil penalties for lots of other things that we're asking for. Like the social distancing and not being in large groups. The problem is that, again, we don't have enough sheriff deputies or police officers to enforce it that way. So we've pretty much been relying on one another to do that. 

I can remember the first time that I heard about someone at a grocery store when we adopted these new procedures who recognized everybody who was bunching up. And the person said, 'Hey, shouldn't we be 6 feet apart' and everybody spaced out. And I think they were actually appreciative that somebody had said something out loud so that everybody could do what it was that they knew they should be doing. 

Ultimately, the best control we have about restaurants that are letting people gather together is no one should be going to those restaurants. We should just be avoiding restaurants and retail stores that are letting people be around other people without wearing face coverings. I went out yesterday and looked into the window at a retail store here in the downtown area. And the clerk, the cashier, was wearing a face covering, which helps protect all the customers in the store. But I was watching some guy at that counter buying something without any kind of face covering on. And I was trying to figure out what it is that that person is thinking. I mean, it's just so rude to be standing there without a face covering on, really close to a cashier who is doing their job and has no choice perhaps but to be there. It's just rude. And it's dangerous, and it's unfortunate. 

Stayton: So you mentioned people shouldn't go to restaurants, people shouldn't go to retail stores while we're in this sort of interim period, still learning things, understanding, though, that businesses are hurting and lots of folks have lost their jobs. Lots of businesses are concerned if they'll be able to survive short-term or longer-term closures. 

Adler: I didn't say you shouldn't go to restaurants or retail. You shouldn't go into any one that doesn't require people to wear face coverings. That's what you shouldn't do. You know, people can make individual choices about whether they go into a restaurant or a retail store, assuming that they're wearing their face covering or being able to maintain 6 foot in distance, hoping that that retailer or that restaurant is in fact disinfecting things or not touching something that somebody else just touched. I recognize that we're testing opening up commerce and I'm fine with us testing to open up commerce. I just want to make sure that we're testing people while we do that. That we’re tracing while we do that, that people are participating in the mitigating behaviors, while we do that, and that we give ourselves enough time to get the data. 

So I don't have a problem with us beginning to open up the economy. I think that's an important and necessary thing for us to do, because it's just important for our life and our sanity, much less the fact that so many people are hurting economically. I'm fine with that. Everybody makes their own choice. I'm not ready to go into a restaurant yet. That day will come. But I want to make sure that people are, in fact, really disinfecting. That people are maintaining this 6 feet. I just want to see those kinds of things. And I want to see the numbers coming in before I do it. 

I hope the governor's plan is successful. I want the governor's plan to be successful, and I'm trying to do everything I can to help ensure that. 

Stayton: One of the things, as you pointed out, that would help chronicle or illustrate that success would be if we had more contact tracing, be able to follow more data. We have a question on Facebook this morning: Which city department or which department would carry out contact tracing as it expands? And how will those positions be filled? How will these people be hired?

Adler: Austin Public Health does the contact tracing, most of it in our city. Dell Medical School is also doing some of the contact tracing in our city. And it is happening now. You know, every person in our city that is a confirmed case gets contacted by one of the teams to make sure that they're getting what it is that they need to be able to get in terms of information, but also to identify contacts. If you go online right now, for one of the free tests from the city, as part of that process, you're going to complete and give some contact tracing information. So it's something that's happening now in our city. 

If because of this social interaction, we're going to move up from having 25, 30, 50, 60 cases more a day to 100, 129, 150 or more cases a day, then we're going to have to further build out those plans. Austin Public Health will do the primary work with respect to hiring people to take care of that responsibility. Right now, a lot of people that are doing that are our police officers and other first responders, because there's a skill associated with this. This is investigative work. 

But I do see that cities across the country that have been badly hurt are hiring many more people. They’re crowd sourcing this effort. They're hiring hundreds and thousands of people. So we may move to that state if we have that same kind of eventual peak. But for right now, we're hiring 100 new people — Austin Public Health is — and we're augmenting the teams that we have to to do this work. It's already happening. 

Stayton: Talking about contact tracing, part of the order on Friday was the suggestion that, for restaurants that are doing dine-in right now, that they keep a log of who comes in and the employees that are there, so that if someone who's been there tests positive, it would be easier to track the people who may have been there during that impacted time period. Why not make that mandatory? If that's such a helpful tool and we're hiring more contact tracers at Austin Public Health, why not make that mandatory to try to just speed up that gathering of data? 

Adler: You know, I thought about making it mandatory. I will tell you that it's become pretty controversial, having issued it even in the non-mandatory way. You know, when we did the first order asking people to wear face coverings, it was not mandatory, it was something that was recommended and suggested. Part of it was getting people used to the concept. Again, because we're dependent so much on self-enforcement in this issue. You're talking about moving your city culturally. Sometimes the best way to do that is to get the suggestion out and then people will do it and we'll see, “Wait a second, this really isn't that onerous at all. I can do this. I can accommodate this.” And then as you get greater acceptance, then you can make something mandatory that may have not ever gotten off the ground if you had started by making it mandatory from the get-go. 

Stayton: We know that the governor has not made a final decision about summer camps. Whether those are going to be allowed in Texas. Any idea about summer camps in the Austin-Travis County area? Have you all been talking or thinking about that yet? 

Adler: There are conversations all the time about all of these issues. I mean, summer camps are not too dissimilar to schools. You have a lot of children that are together. You know, the whole conversation about children has gotten a little bit more complicated with the recent information that it may very well be that children, even small children, may be impacted by this virus in a way that can be life-threatening but very different from the way that it impacts people that are older. We don't know the answer to that. It's being studied right now, but there are enough children that seem to be impacted that is something that I know the physicians, the doctors and researchers are taking a really hard look at right now. But the conversation about summer camps, kind of like the conversation about schools. It's an ongoing conversation, and at this point our folks are telling us that that would not be an appropriate thing to do today. So it's not something that we're encouraging by our orders. 

Stayton: Another question that's come in this morning, I'm fortunate that as an essential worker, I have child care for my son. What is that city doing for nonessential workers who are now being called back to work but who don't have child care? Any provisions or programs in place for those folks? 

Adler: We have a huge issue with child care in our city. It's not something that is just related to the virus. It's something that preexisted the virus. And certainly it is something we had to deal with in those periods of time when school was not in session. But we have a lot of child care infrastructure we need to build out in our city. Right now, in the governor's order, child care is for essential workers — for workers that have to work. So we continue to support that and try to accommodate that as best we can. But child care is one of those issues that I hope we come out of this virus with greater infrastructure than we went into it. 

Stayton: So that's looking down the road a little, but nothing available now for folks who are starting to get called back to work but are not able to access child care or may need assistance with that. 

Adler: No, the only thing that we have at this point is the recognition that if you do not have child care and your employer has called you back to work, the Texas Workforce Commission has determined that that would be a valid reason not to accept going back to work so as to preserve entitlement for [unemployment] insurance. 

Stayton: we received a question this morning wondering about rent and landlords in the city. Will the city have a program for landlords to recover rents for people who are not paying as a result of the city's moratorium on evictions? So right now, there's a hold on evictions. And that doesn't mean the rent isn't paid eventually. It just means not right now. And then evictions have stopped for right now. Are there programs in place — I know there are some rental assistance programs — are there programs in place, this listener wonders, for landlords? 

Adler: There are some programs now that need to be additional programs. We recognize that if a tenant's not paying rent, you still have a landlord that could very well be still required to make payments on their mortgage. So we need to be able to address everyone who is hurting in this and with the action that the council took last week, there was specific discussion about helping landlords, especially smaller landlords that are least able to be able to absorb this shock. 

Under the federal law, all the CARES act passed by Congress, there were certain federally-mandated provisions that said that you couldn't initiate eviction proceedings for those properties where there was federally-backed mortgages, which is quite a few of the mortgages that we have. What we did in the City of Austin is we extended that same rule to other properties that did not have federally backed mortgages for the same reason that Congress did it in the area that they had control over with the federally-backed mortgages. 

The federal government also had a policy to say that if you're a federally-backed mortgage, that you were given a 90-day grace period from having to make your mortgage payments, if you weren't getting rent from tenants.

Here in the city of Austin, we put a considerable amount of money to rent relief, tenant rent relief, that is actually paid to the landlords on behalf of the tenant. And basically covering that expense, but in a way that the landlord still receives the payment. But we ended our conversation last week in saying that this is something we wanted to look at in greater depth, and at our city council meeting in two weeks, where we're talking about how we're allocating funding that is coming from the federal government as well as the budgetary implications of the COVID virus, I think we're also again going to be discussing relief for the landlords that are hit and least able to absorb that shock. 

Stayton: I'm thinking about orders that are issued and then maybe extended for three weeks or a month or, you know, a hold on evictions extended for 30 days or 60 days or 90 days. When you all think and plan about the city's response and what's happening, what kind of timetable and horizon do you all think about? I mean, we obviously don't know a lot about how this virus behaves, but when you all think medium to longer term, what kind of horizon are you thinking in terms of people still needing assistance, the economy is still being slowed down, things still not able to fully reopen?

Adler: No one knows the answer to that question. No one. So you start planning for contingencies and different scenarios that have different conclusions and eventualities. And that's what we're doing. I've seen modeling that would suggest that if we dip too far right now in physical interactions, we're going to have a significant peak in our city in June. And that will require us to maybe return to the kinds of things that we had been doing, but this time for a longer period of time. Maybe for June, July and August. Maybe we come out of that in September. 

But then those models also suggest that if we were to do that, and we were to have that kind of peak, it could be that what happens after that, happens without us needing to intervene with a sufficient level of infection within the community generally. No one knows for sure exactly how that would work or if it would work. So one of the cruel aspects of this virus is we have so many unanswered questions about what's going to happen next here in this city. Right now, we live in a city in a state where the governor is reopening things. And I want him to be successful, which is why I continue to push my community to do everything it can to physically mitigate and social distance. 

We're doing our part by ramping up testing and tracing. We're going to be watching the data and we're going to get that data out to the community well in advance so that they can see the hospitalization numbers and they can see whether they're going up or not. And they know what the triggers might be that might require us to to take different behavior. I want the community to be able to see that and follow that so that it's participating in this — what is a great experiment, because we just don't know what the impact on infections is going to be for the conduct that's happening now.

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