How states can reverse COVID-19 outbreaks

Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, talks with “GMA” about the steps hotspot states need to take as schools prepare to reopen too.
3:25 | 07/10/20

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Transcript for How states can reverse COVID-19 outbreaks
Dr. Ashish jha, director of the Harvard global health institute is joining us now. Thanks for talking to us. We heard there in Tom's piece some of these churches, places of worship are considered superspreader sites. As we head into the weekend what do you want people to know if they're going to go to church and should they be going? Yes, good morning and thank you for having me on. What we know is that any indoor gathering of a large number of people is risky, especially if you're in a hot spot and obviously in places where there's singing or chanting or other things where those can really spread the virus so I think if you're in most parts of the country right now, large gatherings, indoor, including church services and other religious services is really risky and I understand it's deeply meaningful for many of us. But I think we have to be very careful right now and try to avoid it if possible. We have this warning also from Dr. Fauci talking about states with severe outbreaks saying perhaps they should consider hitting the pause button. I'm wondering if once the cat is out of the bag, can we really do that now? Can we put the pause button on some of these states? I think Dr. Fauci is trying his best to be very diplomatic. In some places I think things are getting so bad or are so bad they may need to go back to a shelter in place order. I look at Arizona, the 50% restaurant occupancy. That's way too little too late at this point. I think the cat is out of bag and states have to ratchet back what kind of opening they've done. We're seeing around the country these long lines. People waiting in blistering heat to get tested. Sometimes the results of these tests are taking a week plus to get back to people. Is our testing system collapsing right now? Yeah, you know, Cecilia, this is something a lot have been talking about for months and saying we really need a far more robust testing infrastructure. Dr. Fauci has said that. All of us in the public health world have been saying that. Unfortunately, our political leaders have not invested in that and now we're seeing substantial strains and in some places it really is starting to collapse and that is going to be -- that's going to make fighting the virus much harder. What we're hearing from people on the front lines is a shortage of ppes, it sounds like what we heard back in March. Can we handle the surge we're facing? Yeah, you know, it's one thing when it happened in March when you could argue we were unprepared. We didn't know it would be this bad. For this to happen in July in states like Texas and Arizona and Florida, in my mind it's just unconscionable. We have to protect our health care workers and I can't believe we're going through this again but we do need to continue to push on ramping up, otherwise, it will be very difficult for the frontline workers to take care of people. Dr. Jha, I want to ask this. You have health experts like Dr. Fauci saying, pause. You have political leaders like the president saying go. Who should people be listening You know, this is a public health crisis. This is a medical crisis and when you are sick or have a medical problem you want to listen to your doctor and not your politician. And to me this is pretty clear who people need to be listening experts like Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, leaders in the CDC, those are the people who need to be heard right now, not our political leaders. Dr. Jha as always, we appreciate your voice. T.J.

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

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