“There is a possibility that the assault of the virus in our nation next winter is even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Redfield told the newspaper that having to simultaneously combat the outbreak of two respiratory diseases would be an “unimaginable” burden on the health care system. In the interview, Redfield asked federal and state officials to use the coming months to prepare for what lies ahead and emphasized the importance of social distancing.
In Redfield’s view, authorities need to massively expand their ability to identify those infected through testing and find everyone they interact with through contact tracing. For the CDC director, this is the way to prevent new cases from turning into larger outbreaks.RELATED
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“I don’t know if it will be worse, I think this has been bad enough”
During the daily coronavirus press conference, Dr. Deborah Birx was questioned about it, noting that they are working to develop greater testing capacity and that these resources are in the right place.
“I don’t know if it will be worse, I think this has been bad enough,” he said.
“When you see what happened in New York, that was very bad,” said Birx, who stressed the importance of maintaining surveillance measures. “I think we will have early warning signs of our surveillance that we have been talking about in these vulnerable populations,” the doctor concluded.
Flu season has been ongoing since September, and although it is now considered to be at its lowest stage, it has been responsible for a high number of hospitalizations and infections. Last year, the flu killed at least 34,200 Americans, according to the CDC, and sickened about 35.5 million people.
Redfield’s comments come as several governors seek to partially reopen their states’ economies by relaxing some restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, despite concerns of subsequent increases in coronavirus cases.
Various groups of protesters protested in various states against orders from governors who largely adhere to federal guidelines, and President Donald Trump encouraged them to “FREE” their states in various tweets.
When asked about the protests and subsequent calls to open states earlier, Redfield said “not helpful.”
Looking ahead, Redfield cited the need for a preventative campaign to emphasize the importance of flu vaccines to reduce flu hospitalizations. He said that getting a flu shot “may allow a hospital bed to be available for your mother or grandmother who can get coronavirus.”
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