These 3 Things Can Prevent a Worst-Case COVID Scenario, Harvard Doctor Says

Following these three recommendations could change the course of the pandemic.

On June 30, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Anthony Fauci, MD, delivered a harrowing warning to the U.S. In this worst-case scenario, the country could see up to 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day if the mounting situation didn't "turn around." However, there is still time to avoid this fate if we redirect our path. In an July 1 appearance on Good Morning AmericaAshish Jha, MD, director of Harvard Global Health Institute, shared the three steps America needs to take to prevent hitting this distressing number.

"First and foremost, I think we need every state to have a mandatory mask law," Jha told George Stephanopoulos. While many states do require masks in public by law, there is still a good portion of the country that does not have a mandate in place. "We can't dither on masks," Jha said. "I think everyone needs to be wearing one when they're outside of their home."

People walking wearing masks

Secondly, Jha warned against people gathering indoors, naming indoor bars, restaurants, and night clubs as the main offenders. Currently, a handful of states allow indoor gatherings, and more are nearing phase three of reopening, which generally includes opening indoor bars and restaurants. Some state officials have paused reopening or revoked plans to begin indoor dinning anytime soon, hoping to mitigate the spread within their communities. If all of the states follow suit, the country could be on the road to recovery.

Lastly, Jha insisted, "We've got to keep pushing on testing and tracing." He urged that every state needs to be at the same volume of testing and tracing that ensures they are reporting accurate numbers and contacting anyone who may have been infected to prevent further transmission. He called these methods "our most powerful tools for keeping the virus under control."

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With a combination of enforcing mandatory mask laws in each state, prohibiting indoor gatherings, and consistent levels of testing and tracing, Jha believes that "we can avoid the fate that Dr. Fauci mentioned." However, he also projected that if these measures are not put in place, the last resort will have to be locking states down again completely.

For more on the current surge, This Is Why Coronavirus Is Skyrocketing in the South, Harvard Doctor Says.

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