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Harvard doctor says the coronavirus pandemic will last longer than we think

Published Jun 28th, 2020 1:06PM EDT
Coronavirus USA
Image: Zigres/Shutterstock

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  • Social distancing and mandatory masks in public may have to remain in place for another 12 months, according to Dr. Ashish Jah of Harvard.
  • Jah’s remarks come as many states are seeing huge spikes in the number of new coronavirus cases.
  • Earlier this week, the United States set a new single-day record for new coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus safety precautions such as mandatory masks and social distancing may have to remain in place for an additional 12 months, according to Dr. Ashish Jah who heads up the Harvard Global Health Institute. Barring the development of an effective vaccine — which may not arrive until late 2020 at the earliest anyhow — Jah’s remarks echo what we’ve heard from a myriad of other health professionals over the past few weeks. Put simply, the United States isn’t any closer to moving past the coronavirus today than it was two months ago.

“Not only is it not fading out,” Jah said recently, “this will be with us for at least another 12 months, and that’s the most optimistic scenario for having a vaccine.” Similarly, a May research report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota relayed that the current coronavirus pandemic could persist for two additional years.

The projections above certainly aren’t encouraging, but the reality is that the coronavirus statistics we’ve seen over the past few days have been exceptionally grim, to put it mildly. Across a number of states, the number of coronavirus cases isn’t just increasing, it’s accelerating. And while some have been quick to attribute this spike to an increase in testing, researchers have since debunked that argument.

Incidentally, President Trump during his speech in Tulsa last week seemed to lambast testing altogether because it leads to a higher number of positive cases. Predictably, Trump’s remarks elicited a lot of outrage from the public and medical professionals across the globe.

“This is unfortunately not a joke,” Jha said of Trump’s remarks. “It’s led to more than 100,000 Americans having died largely because we have not built up the testing infrastructure that our country needs.”

In short, Jha noted that we’re still in the “early days in this pandemic” and that the situation is only getting worse in my parts of the country. Indeed, many states — including Florida, Texas, and Arizona — are setting records for new coronavirus cases every single day. In fact, Florida earlier today confirmed that it saw nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day this week. That figure is a record for Florida and nearly double the previous daily record. Additionally, nearly 25% of all coronavirus cases in Florida to date have come within the last week or so. That said, the above three states may have to go revert back to strict lockdown measures in the coming days.

Beyond Florida, Texas, and Arizona, the United States as a whole this week saw a record number of new coronavirus cases within a 24 hour period. Suffice it to say, the handling of the coronavirus by the United States as a whole has been shockingly insufficient.

Meanwhile, the CDC this week added three new coronavirus symptoms individuals should look out for, a list that includes a runny nose, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.