Story at a glance

  • In an op-ed, Frieden describes the need for increased contact tracing and subsequent isolation of positive cases as critical to suppressing cases.
  • This will help keep transmission low while the vaccine is eventually distributed.

Daily COVID-19 numbers continue to increase according to national statistics, with indicators such as biweekly new cases, deaths and hospitalizations all jumping across the country.

The majority of states and territories are contributing to this overall national rise, forcing the country into “the Fight of the Century,” according to former U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Tom Frieden.


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“From a health standpoint, we’re in the middle of the Fight of the Century,” he wrote in an op-ed for FOX News. “COVID won the first couple of rounds and is now surging in much of the country. There are six new cases every second and one death every minute. We hit new records daily, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

This follows optimistic vaccine news, which, tempered by consistently rising cases, Frieden notes will not be largely available to the public for months — a timeline that tracks with other public health estimations

He instead advocates for a “1-2 punch” of approaches to reduce virus transmission, composed of first closing public venues and spaces and isolating infected individuals quickly.

Wearing masks, maintaining a 6-foot distance, and frequent hand-washing are still advisable. 

He also commented on the need to contact trace and isolate COVID-19 positive cases quickly.

“This 1-2 punch – strategic closures targeted to where the risk is highest followed by knocking the virus down and keeping it down – is what we have to work with now. Until there’s a safe, effective, widely available vaccine, we have to make it work so we can keep people and our economy healthy,” he concluded.


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Published on Nov 25, 2020