US states need to do more to drive coronavirus infection rates back down, but theyve got fewer tools to work with now, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNNs Wolf Blitzer Thursday on The Situation Room.
They’ve got to get aggressive if they’re going to bring these virus outbreaks under control or they’re going to be forced to shut down, and I think no one wants that at this point, Jha said.
Unfortunately, aggressive action has become politicized, said Jha. Here we are in the greatest pandemic in a century — 120,000 Americans dead — and what we need to do to prevent this from really getting out of control is wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands, he said. Instead of politicizing them, I’d like to see our leaders, really double down on those scientific areas of advice, so that we can keep Americans safe.
There is some good news, Jha said. We’re not seeing the level of death that we saw a couple of months ago, and that’s a relief. We’ve gotten better at treating this disease, and that’s a relief. And we have better at testing so we can see these cases, he said. But the downside is, we don’t have the ability to shut down — or not really. We’ve used that already. And the political space needed to shut the whole country down again, I think, is really limited, he added.If we don’t act aggressively now, and just let this go for a little longer, then we can get into that apocalyptic situation. I think we all want to avoid it — and we can, but weve got to move fast and weve got to move aggressively.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, has characterized the models for certain metro areas, such as Houston, as on the verge of being apocalyptic.