The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outlook can be stopped, but only with “harsh steps” and extreme measures, health officials are warning.
In a New York Times report , scientists who have battled pandemics in the past laid out the steps required to help slow and stop the spread of COVID-19, which has become a worldwide pandemic since the initial outbreak in China.
“Whether they can keep it suppressed remains to be seen,” the report states. “But for the United States to repeat their successes will take extraordinary levels of coordination and money from the country’s leaders, and extraordinary levels of trust and cooperation from citizens. It will also require international partnerships in an interconnected world.”
Health officials said Americans must be persuaded to stay home, and a system should be put in place to isolate the infected and care for them outside the home.
Travel restrictions should be extended, they said; productions of masks and ventilators must be accelerated, and testing problems must be resolved.
“If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt,” the report states. “The virus would die out on every contaminated surface and, because almost everyone shows symptoms within two weeks, it would be evident who was infected. If we had enough tests for every American, even the completely asymptomatic cases could be found and isolated.”
Officials said that the keys to beating coronavirus include:
- Stopping the transmission of the virus between cities;
- Fix problems with testing for the virus;
- Isolate the infected;
- Find the fevers;
- Trace the contacts of those infected;
- Make masks more prevalent and mandatory, while preserving vital services;
- Produce additional ventilators;
- Retrofit hospitals to increase the capacity for patients;
- Close schools;
- Recruit volunteers;
- Prioritizing treatment and finding a vaccine.
"Terrifying though the coronavirus may be, it can be turned back. China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have demonstrated that, with furious efforts, the contagion can be brought to heel.
"Whether they can keep it suppressed remains to be seen. But for the United States to repeat their successes will take extraordinary levels of coordination and money from the country’s leaders, and extraordinary levels of trust and cooperation from citizens. It will also require international partnerships in an interconnected world."
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