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Public health expert: ‘Mixed messaging’ on masks, social distancing contributed to ‘perilous moment’ for US

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Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, on Sunday attributed a spike in coronavirus cases in much of the nation to a combination of premature reopenings, lack of testing infrastructure and unclear messaging on precautionary measures.

“We got here because…. I think we opened up a little too early in some places, a lot of states didn’t meet the White House’s own guidelines for when to open up safely,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

{mosads}“We didn’t have the kind of testing and tracing infrastructure that we needed [and] last but not least there’s been a lot of mixed messaging on masks and social distancing and so all of that has contributed to what I think is a perilous moment for our country,” he added.

Asked by guest host Mike Emanuel about the decline in mortality even as cases increase, Jha noted that deaths from the virus are typically a “lagging indicator,” but added that other factors could also explain the decline, including more cases among patients who are younger and more likely to survive.

Additionally, he said “we’re getting better at treating the disease, so we may have somebody who spends 2 or 3 weeks in the [intensive care unit] and walks out, they’re still going to be pretty sick with a lot of suffering but they’re less likely to die.”

Emanuel also asked Jha about President Trump’s recent event at Mount Rushmore for the Fourth of July weekend, during which masks were optional and chairs were linked together.

“Those are just risky things, any large gathering where people are not socially distancing and not wearing a mask is risky,” Jha replied. “Outdoors is better than indoors, but my take is the president should stick with the science here and encourage people to wear masks, he can build in some social distancing … I’m perplexed why we’re not doing the things we can do pretty easily to lower the risk.”

 

 

 

Tags Ashish Jha Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Harvard Global Health Institute Sunday shows

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