A top-adviser for president-elect Joe Biden recently discussed the possibility of a national 6-week lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Michael Osterholm is an infectious-disease specialist who was recently appointed as a member of president-elect Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisory team. Osterholm recently spoke with Yahoo Finance about the 46th President’s plan for a potential four-to-six-week nationwide lockdown in the US to curb the spread of Covid-19 and reduce the level of hospitalizations and deaths throughout the country.
The US has seen over 10 million positive cases of Covid-19 and over 238,000 deaths related to the virus. Last week, the country made history by exceeding 100,000 new cases in a single day; a trend that has since lasted every day. When it was announced that Joe Biden won the 2020 election, one of the first things the president-elect did was appoint a 13-person Covid-19 advisory panel along with a general guideline of what he plans to do to combat this virus.
Osterholm went on to discuss how the US has a “big pool of money” that it will be using to help pay for the wages people will lose from staying home under a government-ordered lockdown. These payments will also help to get the economy back on track and Osterholm personally believes Biden’s policies will help drive down new Covid-19 cases “like they did in New Zealand and Australia.”
“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the lost wages for individual workers, to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that.”
The possibility of a Covid-19 vaccine being approved for mass distribution in 2021 is also highly likely, which is why the president-elect and his team are so adamant about a nationwide lockdown. If everyone stays home for six-weeks without having to worry about bills or payments, and new policies are enforced after those six weeks that strictly enforce things like mask wearing and social distancing, America will be on the right track in remaining safe until that vaccine hits the market.
On average the US has reported 112,000 new Covid-19 cases every day for the past seven days, hitting an all-time peak of more than 132,000 new cases on Friday. In response states like Wisconsin, Nevada, and New York have imposed new health and safety restrictions to curb the spread, however, many critics have pointed out that leaving it up to the states continuously is how we ended up in this position in the first place.
Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers on Wednesday that these new restrictions were a “last chance effort” in preventing a second wave; so far the biggest restrictions in the city are all bars, restaurants and gyms must close by 10 pm. Meanwhile, some have argued that we never left the first wave due to the consistent rise in cases and deaths America has seen overall.
“The US could see 1 million daily coronavirus cases by the end of 2020 if this isn’t brought under control fast.”
Osterholm is also the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and has been speaking to multiple media outlets to continue to echo Biden’s message on remaining diligent on the health and safety procedures that are in place now until Biden takes office and has more control. He discussed with CNBC how the US is currently entering “Covid hell.”
“I think that the message is: How do we get through this? We need FDR moments right now. We need fireside chats. We need somebody to tell America, ‘This is what in the hell is going to happen.'”
Other leading health experts in the US, such as David Kessler – the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner – and Vivek Murthey – the former surgeon general -, have also been appointed to Biden’s Covid-19 advisory panel. In an official statement from Biden’s office, “the advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”
Biden’s statement also revealed that the president-elect plans on providing free treatment for those in need and elevating the voices of scientists and public health experts who have been battling this virus on the frontlines for the past nine months. The members of the advisory board will be called on to consult with state and local officials to determine “the public health and economic steps necessary to get the virus under control, to deliver immediate relief to working families, to address ongoing racial and ethnic disparities, and to reopen our schools and businesses safely and effectively.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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