Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir on Sunday said if 85-90% of Americans would wear a facial mask and avoid crowds, the coronavirus infection protection would be equivalent to “a complete shutdown” of the nation.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Giroir, a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, said there is “really good data now” to prove the point.
“Both for the red zone states and the emerging yellow states, we have really good data now, both theoretical and data from places like Arizona, Texas and Florida, that if you do simple measures, like avoid the indoor crowded places, and a lot of times that are indoor bars, but you can't have 100 people at your house either,” he said. “Do less indoor dining because that's another place.”
Facial covering is key, he said.
“Wearing a mask is incredibly important but we have to have like 85 or 90% of individuals wearing a mask and avoiding crowds,” he said. “That is essentially — gives you the same outcome as a complete shutdown.”
“Our public health recommendations is across the board … you really need to have mask-wearing at a very high degree,” adding “these measures do work, but they've got to be implemented rigorously.”
Giroir added that contact tracing has “limited utility” when a virus outbreak is widespread.
“Contact tracing is important but it's much less important right now than the public policy mitigation measures,” he said. “Once the virus gets down to very low levels again, then testing and contact tracing become much more important. Where we are right now with the widespread, multifocal, across many states just like many other countries, the solution was the mitigation steps, not the contact tracing.”
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