How does the US stop the growing number of COVID-19 cases?

Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, speaks out about his concerns on the sharp rise of COVID-19 cases and precautions Americans need to take.
3:47 | 07/06/20

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Transcript for How does the US stop the growing number of COVID-19 cases?
Thank you, will. We want to welcome back Dr. Ashish jha. Thanks for joining us again this morning. There was so much concern as we head into the holiday weekend given what we saw after memorial day. What's your take on how the country did? I thought the country did really well. A lot of places, people were out and I did see a good amount of people wearing masks. Of course, it wasn't as universal as I had hoped and wished it was. But, you know, I think July 4th weekend people need to -- wanted to get out and enjoy themselves a little bit and I thought overall the nation did pretty well but, of course, the number of cases continue to rise in many, many parts of the country so that's an ongoing concern. The president keeps repeating that claim, the false claim that the rise in cases is due to but he's now adding that 99% of cases are totally harmless. What are the facts there? Yeah, so the facts on this are quite clear that the reason we're seeing an increase is because of more infections not because of more testing. 99% of cases are not harmless. 10% of people end up getting hospitalized. If you are hospitalized it's certainly not harmless. A chunk of them spend quite a bit of time in the icu and a proportion end up dying so it's not harmless for any of those folks. I don't know why the president says that but it's clearly not true. Even with the spread of cases so far, though, the death rates are flat or even declining in some places. Is that largely because we're seeing younger cases? There are a couple of explanations. The biggest one, of course, is that death lags. That people get infected, then they get sick enough to be hospitalized and then doctors and nurses do an extremely good job keeping people alive and most people when they go to the hospital do survive but it takes a while before people end up dying so I do expect the number of deaths to unfortunately start ticking back up in many states. The fact that it's a younger population also does help lower the mortality and then last but not least we are getting better at treating the disease and so people may spend weeks in the icu but come out of it alive and they're still quite sick but at least the death statistics suggest that they're getting better. Hoping you can break down this warning for more than 200 scientists around the world to the W.H.O. Saying basically they want the W.H.O. To take this idea that airborne transmission is more serious than the W.H.O. Has said. It's more possible that these smaller droplets of air can linger in the air and pass on the infection. Yeah, so I think the evidence on this is pretty good and the scientists are right and W.H.O. I think is being way too slow on this. The issue, George, is this, there are two ways we think about transmission from people, one is through droplets when you sneeze or cough. The second is through aerosols. When we speak or when we sing, first of all, that distinction is a little bit of an academic one. It always isn't so clear whether it is aerosolized or through droplets but indications are important and one of them is that we're seeing so much transmission indoors where people are close to each other that I think there's pretty clear evidence now that there is aerosolized transmission and the implication people should be wearing masks when indoors even if they're socially distanced. It takes us back to the same place. Masks are just mandatory now. We have a long way to go in the pandemic and if we want our economy open, if we want our lives back, a fundamental part of that is going to be wearing masks. I feel it's a cheap and easy thing to do. I don't know why we as a country haven't made this a national goal. We really should. Dr. Jha, thanks for your time. Thank you. As the cases of coronavirus

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