Australia on lockdown amid 2nd wave of COVID-19

Harvard Global Health Institute’s Dr. Ashish Jha talks with “GMA” about whether the U.S. needs to do a lockdown similar to Australia’s.
4:36 | 08/05/20

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Transcript for Australia on lockdown amid 2nd wave of COVID-19
As we face more cases in the U.S., the global death toll is over 700,000. In Australia is now locking down a major city in the face of a second wave, raising new questions about the course of the pandemic in our country. Matt Gutman has the story. Reporter: The streets are empty this morning in Australia's second biggest city, Melbourne where a strict lockdown is being enforced as covid cases there soar. The hard-hit state of Victoria declaring a state of disaster. Victoria reported three new cases of the virus, today it's 725. Australia, which once seemed to have covid under control, now taking what officials say a shock and saw approach to contain the surge of cases. Enacting stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, that means an 8:00 P.M. To 5:00 A.M. Curfew. One hour of outdoor exercise and one household member allowed out for shopping. An official said where you slept last night is where you'll need to stay for the next six weeks. For Americans living abroad, the inconvenience is necessary. While we feel depressed and really, do we need to go through this again we understand the need for it and happy to abide by it and support it. Reporter: The state of Victoria is sending health or military teams to people who should be in self-isolation and for those who break that self-isolation rule they are handing out $3500 fines. Apparently, Amy, nearly 1,000 of those citations have been issued so far. My goodness. Matt Gutman, thank you. Joining us is the director of the Harvard global health Dr. Ashish. The question is do you think we're looking at a similar lockdown here, is this a predictor of what is to come? Good morning and thank you for having me on. It's worth mentioning that what's happening in Australia is 700 cases. We're at 50,000 cases a day in the United States. We are at a wholly different level and Australia is taking this extremely seriously. I don't think that we will need to do anything quite that serious -- excuse me, I certainly hope not, but I do think we should understand that when the weather gets colder, people start spending more time indoors. We will see a number of cases starting to rise. So I think Australia is a warning of what might be ahead of us in the fall and winter. Right. They're the opposite in the seasons for us and interestingly Australia is reporting a reduction in flu cases and that flies in the face of medical experts here predicting it could be a nightmare scenario with flu season mingling with the coronavirus season. What are you hoping? I'm hoping we would have a milder flu season because people are social distancing and washing hands and wearing masks. If people don't do those things in the country we will be in a lot of trouble. In a normal flu season the hospitals start filling up under normal circumstances and if you throw in flu with covid we may end up in a very difficult situation. So it will be that much more important that people practice the things that we know can make a big difference. Doctor, we are seeing those images from inside the hallways and the classrooms and down south, schools have reopened and many of them have been forced to close down. What do you believe is the future? Can we safely reopen our schools back open and keep them open? Yeah, so, look, we have very clear sort of scientific guidance on what we need to do. A lot of school districts are defying the science and you can't ultimately win by defying the science. The virus will catch up to you. So people are opening up in schools in areas where community transmission is way too high and we're starting to see schools shut down and what I've been saying to school districts is you get one chance. If you do this irresponsibly and you have to shut down it will be hard to open up schools again. People need to worry about bringing transmission down, preparing schools and get being kids to wear masks. That photo had very few kids wearing masks and if we do all of that I think we can bring kids safely back to school, but if we are irresponsible about it we will be home for a very long time. Very important to remember what you said for everyone. Thank you for your time and expertise today.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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