The US is dependent on tough mitigation measures, including social distancing and restricted movement, to stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic, a top health expert has said as the number of COVID-19 infections in the country crossed 180,000 and fatalities surged past 3,800.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday extended the social distancing measures for another 30 days till April 30 as the country is expected to face the peak in coronavirus cases around the middle of April.
Despite best of the efforts by top American scientists and researchers, the US so far has not been able to come out with a vaccine for the deadly disease, the development of which normally takes years. The Trump Administration has accelerated the process, but it is still months away.
We are really convinced that mitigation is going to be doing the trick for us because what you have is you have an increase in new cases at a certain rate, Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director and a member of the White House Task Force on Coronavirus told reporters at a White House News conference on Tuesday.
Fauci insisted that mitigation is essential for the next 30 days in this fight against coronavirus. When the increase in new cases begin to level off, the secondary effect is less hospitalizations, the next affect is less intensive care and the next affect is less deaths.
“The deaths and the intensive care and the hospitalization always lagged behind that early indication that there are less new cases per day the way we saw in Italy and the way we are likely saying I don’t want to jump the gun on it, we are seeing little inklings of this right now in New York, Fauci said.
White House officials and task force members asserted that mitigation and social distancing measures are the only way out to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, that it has been working and will work, despite that being painful and having its own toll on the American economy.
The graphs presented by Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Task Force on Coronavirus, showed that in states like California and Washington, which strictly implemented the mitigation measures including social distancing and lockdown-like situation, the spread of coronavirus was slow and these two states were able to keep the number of fatalities under control.
Whereas in New York, it has skyrocketed in the absence of an early enforcement of such mitigation measures.
For whatever reason New York got off to a very late start and you see what happens when you get off to a late start. New Jersey got off to and I think both governors are doing an excellent job but they got off to a very late start, Trump told reporters at the White House.
We all remember Washington State. It was just a month ago when they started to have the issues in Washington State, but they brought together their communities and their health providers, and they put in strong mitigation methods and testing. And you can see what the results in Washington State and California is. But without the content continuation for the next 30 days, anything could change,Birx said.
The mitigation steps taken by California and Washington State made the big difference as compared to New York and New Jersey, she said.
Trump hoped that the implementation of mitigation measures till April 30 will be enough to contain the virus.
We’re going to find out. We hope it’s enough. We hope it’s enough. We hope we’re at a level where we can say let’s go, because our country wants to get back to work. We really want to get back–everybody wants to get back to work,he said.However, Fauci said that there could be a need of extending these measures if things are not under control by April 30.
After the 30 days, if we get the mitigation that we hope will get us to the suppression that Dr. Birx was talking about, there’s a danger if we don’t continue to maintain that that–where we have a resurgence right within the current outbreak, he said.
That’s sort of a second wave, but it really is an exacerbation of the current wave. We hope that doesn’t happen, and that’s why we’re really pushing and why I was so emphatic about making sure we abide by those mitigation strategies, Fauci said
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