COVID-19 will keep coming back and Americans will have a "roller coaster of social restrictions," Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the White House adviser for health policy under former President Barack Obama, said Friday.
"It is not like it is going away," Emanuel said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "We'll have this roller coaster of social restrictions. Then we'll have easing up, social restrictions, easing up, to try to smooth out the demand on the health care system."
This means a "serious, serious change in our lives, but it is a matter of vital importance if we want to save people,' Emanuel added. "That Imperial College estimate, that if we don't do this, 2.2 million people die...2.7 million people die every year. That's like doubling the total death rate in the United States. I don't think that's acceptable. It is a horrible idea."
Most people are feeling well now, but that doesn't mean they won't become infected, he said.
"Partying in Florida with all those older people around, that is a recipe for all of Florida becoming one of those cruise ships," he said.
Emanuel's comments come after his New York Times opinion piece earlier this week, where he said Americans must stop picturing the “flatten the curve" chart.
Judging from China's lockdown, which is starting to ease since Wuhan and other cities were locked down on Jan. 23, Americans should plan for social distancing until at least mid or late May, he wrote.
Ironically, social distancing could also mean fewer people will develop immunity, so further cycles will likely have to take place, said Emanuel.
However, every time the virus comes back, it will come back more slowly, but "the flattened curve we are all hoping for — the one that is so critical to our health care infrastructure — will not actually be flat," he concluded.
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