3 coronavirus facts Americans must know before the nation reopens

Written by Dr. Robert Pearl and published on Forbes.com

We can’t un-bungle our nation’s COVID-19 response. Political leaders acted too slowly, health agencies committed unforced errors with testing kits and, amid the confusion, an information fog settled over the land.

Americans remain afraid, perplexed and chronically misinformed (despite wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage across the leading cable-news programs and print publications).

To counter the uncertainty, any plan to get us out of the coronavirus crisis must first acknowledge and broadly communicate three immutable, scientific facts.

Fact 1: Staying home saves lives but it doesn’t kill the virus

Weeks of social distancing and self-isolation in the United States have made us all safer. These precautions slowed the spread of COVID-19, thus helping to “flatten the curve.” Doing so buys hospitals and critical care centers enough time to staff up and stock diagnostic tests, protective gear and ventilators.

However, it’s imperative that Americans understand these measures do not eliminate the virus. By staying home (and six feet apart from each other), we did not (and cannot) outlast our opponent.

Whenever we return to our jobs, schools and community gatherings—be it this spring, summer or fall—infections will rise. It’s not a prediction. It’s a biological fact.

To avoid overwhelming critical care services, local reopening strategies must keep a multitude of safety precautions in place, especially those meant to protect the most vulnerable populations. The elderly—and those with chronic illnesses like heart and lung disease—remain at highest risk and therefore must continue to shelter in place. As such, local governments should provide them with food, housing and safe transport as needed.

View the rest of this article on Forbes.com

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For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic, check out Coronvirus: The Truth a fact-based podcast featuring Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr.

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