I’m a physician and a CEO. Why I won’t bring my employees back to the office before Labor Day 2021

As the realization settles in that the pandemic will stretch into multiple quarters rather than multiple months, CEOs must again grapple with how to advise their employees on returning to the office. In March, many initially set an arbitrary reopening date of Labor Day 2020. Yet as the holiday quickly approaches and case numbers continue to rise, many are split on whether to move ahead or walk back their plans to reopen their offices.

In my opinion, they got the day right but the year wrong. At Zocdoc, we will open our offices as soon as it is safe to do so, but we will not require anyone to return until at least Labor Day 2021.

...My best guess is that we’ll have an effective vaccine available early in 2021. However, we will likely not have the logistics in place to produce and distribute sufficient amounts until the middle of next year. Ramping up production and ensuring people go out and get vaccinated will take some time. Hundreds of millions of people will likely require two doses each. To put that in perspective, patients in the U.S. make about 1.2 billion visits to the doctor each year across all specialties; these vaccinations alone will increase that number by nearly 50%, and vaccines will predominantly be administered by primary care specialists. That is a tremendous capacity constraint. 

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