A national lockdown is not what is needed to slow the surging spread of COVID-19 across the country, Dr. Ashish Jha told the Today show on Tuesday. Rather, a more pointed approach to stemming infections must immediately be taken up by states.
The dean of the Brown University School of Public Health praised the steps being taken by Michigan and California, rolling back some parts of their reopenings to address the rise in new cases and hospitalizations.
“What you don’t need is a national lockdown, what you need is targeted, focused efforts on the things that we know really are spreading the disease,” Jha said. “And it’s good to see some states doing it, and I wish other states would follow suit quickly. Waiting is not a good strategy at this point, everybody needs to move fast.”
In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a series of new executive orders in early November to address the increase of cases. But otherwise, the governor isn’t planning any other additional changes to the state’s COVID-19 guidance.
The United States surpassed 11 million cases on Sunday, the New York Times reports, and the average of daily reported deaths is now around 1,100. More than 73,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The virus has left more than 238,000 people dead in the United States.
Jha told Savannah Guthrie that the country shouldn’t be in this position.
“Everybody knew this was coming and again our federal government just didn’t prepare,” he said. “In the last couple of months, it has decided to completely check out and that’s why the whole country is aflame. Certainly masks are going to help, certainly avoiding indoor gatherings, including, unfortunately, larger family gatherings for Thanksgiving and the holidays. And then I still think there’s a lot more we can be doing on testing. Testing is really getting strained. We’ve got to make that better for people, so that we can figure out who is infected and who is not.”
The public health expert echoed the warnings from other doctors that gathering with individuals from outside your household for the holidays is simply not safe.
“This is not the time to start making bad choices,” Jha said.