The United States needs a unified approach to tackle the rising cases of COVID-19 infection and people should not get a false sense of security that a vaccine is just around the corner, infectious disease experts said today.
The U.S. recently reported a record increase in cases, with spikes seen in states that are well underway in their reopening process. Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Florida and Texas faced a surge of cases, leaving state and local governments struggling to gain the upper hand in containment efforts.
Still, the rising case numbers have caused many states to change their recovery plans, delay reopening measures and re-introduce restrictions on businesses. “What we are seeing, certainly, is this virus (is) spreading across the states like a wildfire,” said Joshua Barocas, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University and an infectious diseases physician at the Boston Medical Center.
He explained that states need to impose tighter restrictions on indoor gatherings. He said the surge in places like Florida and Texas should serve as a warning to other states, such as New Jersey or Massachusetts, where the infection spread appears to have slowed for now.
“What we actually need is a comprehensive, unified approach to this,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday. “We need people at all levels of government and society backing up one strategy – and that strategy, really at this point, while we’re waiting for effective vaccines, effective treatments, we need this to be a preventive strategy.”
He clarified that does not mean a complete lockdown or that people cannot ever leave their houses again. “It simply means avoiding sharing items, physically distancing when you’re out in public, wearing a mask — these are fairly straightforward, fairly truthfully simple things to follow that are actually going to prevent more surges and more economic turmoil, to be perfectly frank,” Barocas said.
The U.S. has the highest number of reported cases and death toll in the world — more than 2.8 million people have been infected and close to 130,000 people have died from Covid-19.