Today, Mr. Trump was released from the hospital after three days of being treated for COVID-19. He returned to the Whitehouse to immediately provide an egregious example that no company should follow when it comes to COVID-19.
Specifically, Mr. Trump decided to pose for an obvious photo and video shoot in the Whitehouse by removed his mask. This happened at a time when there is increasing concern by White House staffers and employees who have seen their workplace emerges as a virus hot spot thanks to the decisions of its Resident in Chief.
The coronavirus is a highly contagious virus. It is spread through airborne particles that can linger in the air “for minutes or even hours” — even among people who are more than 6 feet apart. Wearing a mask is one way to limit the spread.
Mr. Trump, as the President of the U.S., is not your average employer. But for most employers, commitment to the health and safety of employees and customers should be a top priority. To commit to that priority means lessening the risk of exposure. If basic human decency is not enough of a reason to wear a mask, then consider any number of legal or regulatory issues most employers face.
To limit the risks of spreading the virus, follow the latest guidance from federal, state, and local governmental health authorities, including, but not limited to, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And at this point, if in doubt, do the opposite of what Mr. Trump does. Presently, the CDC has identified two options for when employees may discontinue in-home isolation for individuals who are not immunocompromised: (1) symptom based strategy and (2) test-based strategy.
This post is written, in part, out of frustration. For over six months now, my family and I have worn masks when we go out in public. Thankfully, we are not likely to be in a high risks category if we were to contract the COVID-19 virus (although the math around “likely” changes when it involves one’s family). Yet we follow the recommendations and the science behind the recommendations for wearing a mask. And we do this for those we may encounter. You could even call it a duty demanded by basic human decency.
We will continue to play by the rules, follow the science, and lead by example for our child and avoid the political theater. Hopefully, most will do the same.