SCHD: Shelby County could see up to 8 more weeks of additional social distancing

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would like to re-open the country by Easter.

Local health officials say Cinco de Mayo or Memorial Day may be a more realistic expectation. And that’s only if people start buying into the new way of socializing.

There doesn’t seem to be a consensus from the medical community as to when it will be safe to relax the strict social restraints, but Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter thinks the President’s prediction is too optimistic.

“So my personal opinion is that it would be difficult to return to normal within two weeks, however, keep in mind here we’re still early in our epidemic in Shelby County so by taking early aggressive action we may shorten the time it takes to reduce spread,” said Haushalter.

Shelby County Health Department believes community transmission has begun

Currently, Shelby County has more than 130 confirmed cases which is a far cry from other hot spots like New Orleans or the Orleans parish that has more than 670 cases.

Dr. Aram Dobalain with the University of Memphis’ Division of Health Systems Management and Policy agrees that we need more time.

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“So it’s unlikely we’re going to be in a position where we can really talk about decreasing social distancing measures. We have to have enough people engaging in these activities in order for it to be effective. And if we ratchet back too fast than the measures will not work,” said Dobalain.

Dr. Haushalter says 4 to 8 weeks is a much more realistic timeline to see a significant reduction in confirmed cases.

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