In The New England Journal of Medicine, Mark Barnes Examines Return-to-Work Challenges in Ongoing Pandemic

In The News
June 18, 2020

In a “Special Report” of the New England Journal of Medicine, health care and life sciences partner Mark Barnes (Boston) analyzes the legal and operational challenges confronting employers in determining their “return-to-work” strategies as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Mark explains that COVID-19 poses unprecedented challenges for a broad range of workplaces, businesses and institutions. All are adapting their activities to prevent transmission.

Mark notes that the foundations of employer and institutional prevention are relatively inexpensive personal protective equipment whose use is taught and monitored; basic administrative controls such as segmenting the workforce, reducing density, and mandating self-deferral from work for those who feel ill; and environmental controls such as the use of physical barriers and the careful management of air exchange and filtration.

Testing, at present, is most effectively used for accurate assessment and follow-up of contacts, while the use of contact-tracing apps and mandatory screening by means of molecular, antibody, or antigen tests currently appears to be more complicated and less efficient than more traditional public health measures, he writes.

The article cites the assistance of employment partner Douglas Brayley, employment associate Yu Chen Xue, health care associate Michael DiMaio (all of Boston).