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Former CDC director explains how we can ‘get our lives back’

Published Jul 27th, 2020 9:41PM EDT
Coronavirus update
Image: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

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  • The latest coronavirus updates aren’t exactly promising. The virus’ toll in the US is only continuing to grow, and a successful vaccine is still months away, at the very earliest.
  • The next big hurdle facing the country is how school systems around the US are going to reopen this fall, if they even do at all. Some are choosing instead to shift to a virtual classroom model, but not every school system has that option.
  • Former CDC director Tom Frieden explains what the US needs to do amid the coronavirus pandemic for us to be able to “get our lives back.”

So much for the coronavirus disappearing with the arrival of warm summer weather.

The US has seen coronavirus cases rise 18% over the past two weeks (along with a 30% increase in deaths), according to recent tabulations, and there are a growing number of states like Texas and Arizona where the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to spiral out of control. Sure, we’re getting a little closer — emphasis on a little — to the day when we can put this pandemic behind us thanks to advances like the early trials of coronavirus vaccine candidates that are showing promise but are still a long way from reality. It’s with all this in mind that former CDC director Tom Frieden decided to share his insights with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace over the weekend, about everything from the state of the US coronavirus response now to just when it is that we will all finally be able to “get our lives back.”

Frieden lays out the way for that to happen, too, in a recent post on his personal blog, at Here’s what he says: “Better care and newer treatment can decrease death rates (maybe: plasma and remdesivir early, steroids for some patients late). Even with a vaccine, the virus is here to stay. We need a comprehensive response that will minimize deaths and get to the new normal soon and as safely as possible.”

So much is at stake, Frieden continues in his blog post. Like, “The chance for our kids to go back to school and for us to get back to work. The chance for our economy to recover. The chance for us to save tens of thousands of lives.”

As far as when all this will end — or, rather, lessen to the extent that we can return to some degree of normalcy? Unfortunately, there’s no one single answer to that question, Frieden explained in his interview this weekend.

“There’s not going to be one solution to this pandemic, and we need to level with people,” he said. “We don’t have enough tests. So we have to prioritize them. We don’t have enough protective equipment for healthcare workers. So we need to safely reuse and use more of the routinely reusable equipment. And if, and when a vaccine comes, we’re going to have to face difficult decisions about who gets it first.”

Some of those questions: How confident are we in it? And how quickly will it be available?

“One of the things that has hampered us is this idea that one thing is going to stop this,” he added. “No one thing is going to stop it. It’s here for a while, but we’re in it together. And if we unite in our effort against it, while keeping physically apart, we can get our lives and our livelihoods back.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.