Dr. Amesh Adalja, Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security joins Yahoo Finance’s Kristin Myers to break down the latest coronavirus developments, as cases continue to spike across the globe.
KRISTIN MYERS: All right, well, let’s keep the conversation on coronavirus. We have a new record of a seven day average, more than 81,000 cases. So we’re joined now by Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Doctor, I keep asking how bad it’s going to get. We now have, of course, more than 81,000 cases for the weekly average. Do you think that we could start seeing either daily case counts or weekly averages that are going to be totaling well over 100,000, 200,000? Really how badly can this surge, can this spike get?
AMESH ADALJA: I do think we’re probably already over 100,000 per day. You have to remember that testing still isn’t optimal, and many people are not getting tested, and there is still an under count of cases in the community. So I do think we’re operating at above 100,000 and have been for some time. We have to anticipate that there’s going to be intensification and spread that continues as it gets colder, as people are less likely to be able to do things outdoors, as pandemic fatigue sets in and people try to get back to some semblance of their normal life, the virus is going to take advantage of those opportunities, and we’re going to be in for a rough winter.
KRISTIN MYERS: So speaking about a normal life, right, we have seen folks going to, not just political rallies, but also going to restaurants, going to bars and other events. Do you think we are fast approaching or have we, perhaps, already reached a breaking point where we’re going to have no choice but to impose curfews again, impose lockdowns again?
AMESH ADALJA: I hope not. I do think that we are seeing spread really being driven more so by people’s small gatherings in their houses than it is at bars and at restaurants. So I think this is going to be challenging, and it’s not something that a lockdown could, could solve very easily, and we know that there are lots of ancillary consequences to lockdowns in terms of health care being disrupted for other conditions, people being put out of work, and more and more businesses closing. So I don’t think that lockdowns are going to be the answer or what we want to be the answer.
What we need to do is just go back to the basics. We need people to start wearing face coverings when they’re doing activities and just being very mindful of the fact that we’re in a pandemic. If we can get people to follow these commonsense recommendations, we’ll go a long way to controlling this virus and keeping our hospitals out of crisis. We also need to get a test, trace, and isolate strategy finally in place. This has been ten months, and we still have not had any ability to do the testing that we need to do to be able to have people know what their status is.
KRISTIN MYERS: Now, Dr. Fauci, of course, has been almost the face of this fight against the coronavirus, and we now have President Trump hinting that he might possibly fire him after the election. What could the impact of that be, at least in terms of the medical community as they try their hardest to help fight this virus?
AMESH ADALJA: It’s very demoralizing. You have to remember that Dr. Fauci is being attacked not for any vice or mistake, but for his virtue. Not for any weakness, but for his strength, and not for any kind of incompetence, but for his competence. He’s actually a protector of the United States, something that the president has failed to be able to do from the very beginning, so I do think that people need to pay for the incompetence, but it’s actually the president and the vice president who need to answer for it, and these attacks on experts are going to haunt us for years to come.
This is, science is what’s going to get us out of this pandemic, and listening to voices like Dr. Fauci, whose hand has guided everything good that’s happened in this pandemic. That’s the way we need to move forward, and I think that this talk of firing Fauci, which I don’t even think the president has the power to do, is really reprehensible.
KRISTIN MYERS: All right, well, we will have to leave that there, of course, as many folks are going to be watching the election results tomorrow and how that is going to be impacting the fight of coronavirus, depending on who wins that election. Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Thanks so much for joining us today.
AMESH ADALJA: Thank you.