Tags: Coronavirus | vaccines | testing | cdc | tom frieden

Former CDC Head: Virus Needs '1-2 Punch' of Closures and Testing

man wears blue protective suit and uses a swab to test a woman for coronavirus
Texas National Guardsman tests people for COVID-19 in the parking lot of Memorial Swimming Pool on May 18, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. (Paul Ratje/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 23 November 2020 02:02 PM

Beating the coronavirus will require a “1-2 punch” of closures and isolating the infected before a vaccine is available, Tom Frieden, the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Obama administration, said on Monday.

“Vaccines are on the way, but it will be months before lots of people get vaccinated,” Frieden, who is now the president and chief executive of the group Resolve to Save Lives, wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News. “For now, we have to make do with the 1-2 punch of weapons already in our arsenal.”

He noted, “The first punch — closures of parts of our society — is a blunt instrument that slows disease spread but must be better timed and aimed. The second — getting infectious people isolated quickly to reduce spread — hasn’t landed to have impact in most of the country.”

According to Frieden, “If everyone follows the 3 W’s — wearing masks, watching their distance from others, and washing hands frequently (or using hand sanitizer) — many things will be reasonably low risk. If we target and time closures well and take these safety measures, we won’t have to close everything.”

However, high-risk activities like indoor dining and shopping in malls with large numbers of people should be avoided, as should social get-togethers, according to Frieden.

“To avoid having to close yet again while vaccine is on the way, we will need strategic testing to find infected people, rapid isolation of all who are infected to prevent further spread, contact tracing to warn those exposed and test them, and quarantine of contacts until they are not potentially infectious so that we can end webs of disease transmission.”

Frieden notes that the most recent spike in case numbers came following the Labor Day holiday, and says that “with colder weather, people are moving to more activities indoors, where the virus spread more easily. Now we’re looking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas, with cases likely to spike even more if people don’t change their approach to traditional holiday gatherings.”

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Beating the coronavirus will require a "1-2 punch" of closures and isolating the infected before a vaccine is available, Tom Frieden, the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Obama administration, said on Monday. "Vaccines are on the way, but...
vaccines, testing, cdc, tom frieden
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2020-02-23
Monday, 23 November 2020 02:02 PM
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