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8 Ways the U.S. Should "Reset" the Coronavirus Response

In order to flatten the curve, action needs to be taken.

As the number of coronavirus infections in the United States continues to climb past 4.5 million, researchers are scrambling to figure out how we are going to effectively flatten the curve. On Wednesday, scholars at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security released a new detailed report suggesting how the federal, state and local governments can get control of the deadly pandemic. 

"Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic," they pointed out in the report. "It is time to reset." The report included 10 recommendations that will help the US get back to baseline. Here are the most important takeaways you need to know about. 


Universal Mask Mandates

woman put on a fabric handmade mask on her face

Non-pharmaceutical measures, which include universal mask use, need to be tightened up in the United States, similar to other countries who are flattening their curves. According to the report, it is the responsibility of state, local and federal leaders to mandate non-medical mask use in public.


Improved Testing

Medical worker making blood test for detection of antibodies and infections

Testing and contact tracing needs to be improved, the report states. This included identifying ways the federal government can work with states and commercial labs to identify challenges in quickly returning tests and to work out a more efficient way to process them. 


Stay at Home Orders

Young woman spending free time home.Self care,staying home

In places where transmission is worsening, the report urges that stay-at-home orders should be reinstated. "In those jurisdictions where hospitalizations and diagnostic test positivity are rising, but where there are still no signs of hospital crisis or rising deaths, governors or local executives should re-close high-risk activities and settings," they say. "In jurisdictions (eg, either whole states or individual counties or cities) where healthcare systems are in crisis or approaching it, or deaths are steadily rising, governors should reinstitute stay-at-home orders until numbers improve for at least 2 weeks."


Social Distancing

Shopper with mask standing in line to buy groceries due to coronavirus pandemic in grocery store

Social distancing is another key non-pharmaceutical measure that needs to be the norm, the report explains. 


Limit Indoor Gatherings 

Group of party people - men and women - drinking beer in a pub or bar

The report also calls for state, local and federal leaders to limit large indoor gatherings, "capping them at no more than 10 people in places where there is substantial community transmission, and perhaps 25 in places where the epidemic is under better control."


Leader Unity

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Courtesy of NIH

Leaders at all levels should also "speak in unison in support of these core public health approaches to controlling this disease." They explain, "Consistency of messaging will play an important role in overcoming the misinformation and ideological differences that are contributing to inconsistent implementation of public health guidance. Political and scientific leaders should work closely together, as they have in other countries that have successfully controlled their epidemics, both in the development of policy and also in its communication and guidance to the public." 


Pay More Attention to Positivity Rate

Positive test result by using rapid test device for COVID-19, novel coronavirus 2019

The report points out that more emphasis needs to be put on the testing positivity rate, which can predict future hospitalizations and death surges. "States should stop high risk activities and settings in areas that have rising test positivity, but no signs of crisis in hospitals or rising deaths," they explain. 


Vaccine Development and Education

Nurse checking a vial of medicine.

While a vaccine will be a game changer as it will "dramatically change the course of the response and offer the opportunity to enhance protection of those most vulnerable individuals," there is work to be done at the community level before one is available. "With misinformation and vaccine hesitancy remaining prominent issues affecting public health, vaccination campaigns will not be successful if they are not executed with sensitivity to the current climate around trust of public institutions and if they do not incorporate multidisciplinary expertise in decision-making groups," the report says. As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah
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