The U.S. "Won't Get a Third Chance" to Control COVID, Expert Warns
"We could face a disaster that dwarfs the situation today" unless major action is taken soon.
As the surge in new coronavirus cases continues to worsen in hard-hit states like Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Florida, more outbreaks are beginning to pop up in other areas of the U.S. As a result, medical experts are becoming more direct in their warnings for public officials to take action—with some even suggesting renewed stay-at-home orders to fend off potential disaster. Disease expert John M. Barry, author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that things could get much worse if things don't change. "If we don't get the growth of this pandemic under control now, in a few months, when the weather turns cold and forces people to spend more time indoors, we could face a disaster that dwarfs the situation today," he wrote. "This is our second chance. We won't get a third."
According the an expert, the dire situation in states like Florida and Texas versus the successful turnarounds seen in Italy and Germany are a signal that a potentially avoidable catastrophe is looming. Barry says that "social distancing, masks, hand washing and self-quarantine remain crucial. Too little emphasis has been placed on ventilation, which also matters." But he concludes that "the virus is already too widely disseminated for these actions to quickly bend the curve downward," suggesting that "a comprehensive April-like shutdown may be required."
Similarly, Ashish Jha, MD, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI), tweeted on July 11 that he wasn't sure what would "turn it around" in hard-hit states besides a "fully enforced mask order" and the closing of bars, clubs, restaurants, and all but essential retail. According to their numbers, Jha said Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Alabama are "heading towards full shutdown."
Many other top health officials have agreed with Barry's warnings, with World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying that the situation will get "worse and worse and worse" if the U.S. stays on its current trajectory, CBS News reports.
Ultimately, Barry notes that the U.S. has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world and warns that "half-measures will leave transmission at a level vastly exceeding those of the many countries that have contained the virus. Half-measures will leave too many Americans not living with the virus but dying from it." And for more ominous coronavirus warnings, check out The CDC Director Just Said the Words No American Wants to Hear Right Now.