ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As the state reopens, individual Alaskans will be confronted with making choices about their safety. Alaska Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anne Zink, paraphrased a senior medical officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland security saying, “ We only have hard decisions here on out.”
One of those decisions will be the choice to become a part of a “double bubble.”
“Say that you have a close set of friends… thinking about extending your bubble to kind of a double bubble, those two families interacting together but not expanding from outside that double bubble,” Dr. Zink said at a press conference Monday.
Becoming part of a double bubble means sharing the risk with another family. Dr. Zink said if one person gets sick there is an 80% chance that the household contacts will also get that disease. People in the double bubble will limit their interactions to those respective families to minimize their risks.
This arrangement is not ideal for families with a health care professional or a high-risk individual but can be a way to expand that social circle more responsibly.
As people expand their social bubbles, the state also plans to expand its reopening plans. Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he plans to clarify things in his next broadcast and condense advisories for individuals and businesses.
“The idea is that we learn to live with this until there is a vaccination, and we learn to manage it and not let it manage us.,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said at the press conference.
As the state reopens businesses and expands social circles, it expects the number of COVID-19 cases to increase, but the governor said the health care capacity is there to handle any surges in cases.
“In the end, we are a free country, we’re a free state,” Dunleavy said. “Our numbers are low, the numbers don’t justify us continuing anything but opening up.”
Dunleavy said in the coming days the state will start to reopen to the point that Alaskans will “recognize the Alaska we once had.” However, some large gatherings and concerts will still be continually under consideration.
The May 18 press conference can be watched on the KTUU Facebook page here.
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