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The Cruel Covid ‘New Normal’

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
 

By Scott Gottlieb (original source The Wall Street Journal)

“The Covid-19 epidemic continues to expand in some 20 states. The number of new cases in New York City is slowing, but the picture is different elsewhere in the nation. America has hovered around 30,000 new daily infections and 2,000 deaths for almost a month. Yet the number of days it takes for infections to double has improved, from less than a week in hot spots to almost a month nationally. This represents progress.

But everyone thought we’d be in a better place after weeks of sheltering in place and bringing the economy to a near standstill. Mitigation hasn’t failed; social distancing and other measures have slowed the spread. But the halt hasn’t brought the number of new cases and deaths down as much as expected or stopped the epidemic from expanding.

Officials face intense pressure to reopen, and the reality is stark: Continuing spread at something near current levels may become the cruel “new normal.” Hospitals and public-health systems will have to contend with persistent disease and death.

Higher rates of spread may be limited to some areas; a majority of states have more than 250 new cases of Covid-19 every day. But as states begin to open up their economies and Americans return to traveling, the disease will continue to expand. We need to prepare to deal with such a grim future, which will require a persistent posture of prevention and treatment.”

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