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We have to get out and breathe. Staying at home is too smothering. There is restless desire to go back to work. Going forward, weekends should be long enough stay-at-home requirements. The shelter-in-place requirement flattened the COVID curve, flattened the economy and has nearly flattened our senses. Let's find a sensible way out. Let's build the future based on demonstrable trust and verifiable facts. COVID-19, being a novel virus, is shrouded in layers of mysteries. Mysteries will peel one layer at a time. After all, we are early in this pandemic.

It's mankind’s ardent hope that COVID-19 kills rarely and sparingly. Hope is not a strategy this pathogen will sign on, however. Let's move forward nonetheless with confidence underpinned by best practices. A safe work place will require demonstrable safety in mind of many workers and mere opportunity to work in others. This may expose businesses to additional COVID related liabilities. Liabilities over and above the usual California requirements. Health and safety issues supersede legal implications, but not entirely. If frivolous lawsuits are allowed to take root, economy won't. Entrepreneurship, not exploitation, makes society viable and America exceptional. Let going back to work be not an open season on the blood and sweat of the ones striving. Let's protect businesses from lawsuits that COVID has already inflicted near existential damage upon. Employers should put in practice the standard mitigation measures to protect employees, customers and business. These measures will include distancing, masks and enhanced hygienic practices. Expanded testing is in process of being developed and will be a big help. These measures will be our best preventative defenses against a second wave. We keep adding to our repertoire additional tools that include life-saving medicines and, hopefully, soon virus deterring vaccines. In the interim, we need to keep the most vulnerable among us best protected. People over the age of 65 and those with comorbidities should be encouraged to minimize contact. The younger population without comorbidities should return to work with explicit recognition that infection is likely and precautions are necessary. Precautions help minimize viral load in case of contact with an infected person. The amount of viral load received may determine the eventual outcome. A smaller viral load may allow a body’s immunity to stay ahead of virus and make it nonthreatening. As we take this tentative step forward to open the economy, let's make sure it's a firm step forward. Compliance not defiance is a necessary virtue; the rest of the economy counts on it.

Good luck, my fellow citizens, and God bless America!

Dr. Brij Bhambi specializes in cardiac and vascular intervention, nuclear cardiology, consultative and general cardiology and holds board certification in Interventional Cardiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine. He is a chief medical officer at Bakersfield Heart Hospital.