Public health expert: No 'clear way' to separate those most at-risk for virus for quarantines

Public health expert: No 'clear way' to separate those most at-risk for virus for quarantines
© getty

The director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said Sunday that too many people are in the groups most at-risk for the coronavirus to quarantine them from the rest of the country, as some have demanded.

The number of people over the age of 65 combined with those with underlying conditions represent about one-third of the U.S. population, Tom Inglesby said on “Fox News Sunday,” and “there really isn’t any clear way to separate that third of adults with the rest of the country.”

“I think we need kind of a strategy that works for everybody,” he added, noting: “I don’t think it’ll work logistically or practically” to continually quarantine those most at-risk.

Inglesby also said he agreed with Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceYarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' NIH director expects booster shots to be expanded, despite recommendation MORE's previous guest, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinFormer Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report Menendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan MORE, about the economic consequences of lockdowns, saying the U.S. should look to other countries that have begun the reopening process as a model.

“The way they’ve restored their economies is to give people a sense of confidence that the disease is under relatively good control and I think that should be our goal here,” he said, emphasizing the need for aggressive testing and contact tracing. “That’s the way I think we’re going to get control,” he added.

“I think we’re still in the early stages of the pandemic,” Inglesby added, noting “we still are now about five weeks into a national plateau.”

While the  average of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. is overall on the decline, he added that “the national averages don’t necessarily tell the whole story,” noting that the national trend is largely driven by declines in New York and New Jersey.

“It’s a mix around the country but overall a national plateau,” he said. “We’re not diagnosing enough cases and we’re not tracing their contacts.”