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Virus Expert Just Issued This "Disruptive" Warning

Here's the latest on COVID-19 from Dr. Ashish Jha.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

COVID cases are rising fast, up to more than 100,000 a day, and hospitalizations are rising with them. Not only is COVID not "over" but we are on the brink of another surge. To address what you can do to stay safe, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, appeared on This Week this morning. Read on for five pieces of advice that can save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Virus Expert Says, First and Foremost, Do This Now

Close up shot of hands checking Covid-19 vaccine report card and ticking 3rd or booster dose after vaccination.
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Want to avoid getting seriously ill from this new surge, and protect children, also? "First and foremost, my advice is, if you have not gotten vaccinated in the last five months, if you have not gotten boosted, you need to go out and do that. Now is a good time to do it. What we know is vaccines continue to provide a high level of protection against people getting seriously ill. So that's advice number one." 

2

Virus Expert Says Also Do This ASAP

Woman with medical mask to protect her from virus
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Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York City, said of mask mandates: "We're not at that point yet. We're not at the point of doing anything other than urging New Yorkers while you're indoors in large settings, social settings, wear your mask. We have more tools. So we don't have to fight the war we had before. This is a new war, and we're gonna use all those tools to do so."

"I agree with Mayor Adams that when you're in indoor space, you should be wearing a mask," said Jha. "I feel that very strongly that in crowded indoor spaces, in places with high transmission, people should be doing that." He said part of his job in the administration is "to make sure that people have access to masks, people have access to vaccines, access to therapeutics and testing."

3

Virus Expert Said Don't Think of This Virus as "Normal" and "We're Not Done Yet"

Patient arriving at medical clinic and being called by the doctor using face mask.
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"All these infected people….," others might think, "Maybe people aren't as sick. This is just part of life now," said host Martha Raddatz. "I wouldn't say it's quite part of life in the sense that I wouldn't say it's quite back to sort of normal, because look, we have a lot of infections out there, it's still quite disruptive," said Jha. "And 300 people a day are still dying of this disease. That's way too much. What I would say is we've certainly started really breaking that link between infections and deaths through two mechanisms, right? One is by getting people vaccinated and boosted, and second through making therapies widely available. Those things really do help a lot. And that's why, despite how many infections there are, death numbers are still relatively low. We've gotta keep working on it. We're just not done yet."

4

You Have to Use the Tools We Have or You're at Risk, Says Virus Expert

Two healthcare workers talking at the UCI
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"Given that a lot of people aren't following your advice, I've been flying around the country a lot lately, people don't have masks on, give us a sense of what discussions are going on in terms of approaching this in a different way. You've said month after month after month, put your masks on, get a vaccine, get a booster, but the numbers aren't really moving. So what kind of discussions do you have about another plan?" asked Raddatz.

"So look, there are a set of things that we know about how to fight this pandemic, right?" said Jha. "They are many of the things you've mentioned. We don't have a new set of tools that we're gonna roll out. The ones that work vaccinations, therapies, testing, masking, and improving indoor air quality—those are the major tools. The discussions going on that we have is we're looking at the numbers and asking which of those tools are most important at this moment? Which ones do we want to emphasize? Certainly, I think we wanna help people understand that, uh, we are in a different moment than we were two years ago, right? We are at a point where lots of people are vaccinated and boosted, where we do have widespread therapies available. We're not in the same battle, as Mayor Adams said, we're not in the same battle as we were two years ago. And so the key discussion now is how do we help Americans through this moment? And this is really important, how do we prepare for future variants? How do we prepare for the evolution of this virus? And how do we make sure we have the resources to do it so we can protect Americans as this virus continues to evolve."

5

Virus Expert Said There May Be Yet Another Surge in the Fall

Biotechnology scientist in ppe suit researching DNA in laboratory using microscope. team examining virus evolution using high tech for scientific research of vaccine development against covid19
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How to prepare for a new surge this fall and winter? "Well, there are two sets of things we can do," said Jha. "I mean, first is we should be communicating as we are, and we do this every day, what's happening with the virus and where our expectations are and what we're planning for. What we know is that this virus is evolving very quickly and every iteration of it is has more and more immune escape,makes it harder for this virus to be contained unless we continue vaccinating people and keeping people up to date. So that's what we know. We also are planning for a variety of scenarios, including a wave of infection this fall and winter, and making sure that we have a new generation of vaccines that are being worked on right now that we have–availability of treatments and testing. And we have the resources, by the way, one of the reasons I've been talking a lot about the need for Congress to step up and fund this effort is if they don't, we will go into the fall and winter without that next generation of vaccines, without treatments and diagnostics, that's gonna make it much, much harder for us to take care of and protect Americans."

6

Virus Expert Said This About Monkeypox

Blood sample tube for Monkeypox virus test.
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Monkeypox has been discovered in the USA. "This is not a new virus to us," said Jha. "We've known about this virus for decades. We have a case in Massachusetts at Mass General, we have at least one confirmed case in New York, tracking others. I would not be surprised if we see a few more cases in the upcoming days. Anytime we have an infectious disease outbreak like this, we should all be paying attention. But I feel like this is a virus we understand, we have vaccines against it. We have treatments against it. And it's spread very differently than" COVID. "It's not as contagious as COVID. I am confident we're gonna be able to keep our arms around it, but we're gonna track it very closely." As for yourself, to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more
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