CDC expert warns U.S. has “way too much virus” to contain outbreak – Axios

The novel coronavirus is spreading too widely and quickly to contain, CDC principal deputy director Anne Schuchat told The Journal of the American Medical Association Monday, warning she expects “this virus to continue to circulate.”

Why it matters: Per Schuchat, “This is really the beginning, and what we hope is that we can take it seriously and slow the transmission.” Her comments are in contrast to those of senior members of the Trump administration — notably Vice President Mike Pence, who said on Friday “we have made truly remarkable progress.”

  • COVID-19 cases are surging across the U.S., prompting Texas and New Jersey to pause plans to reopen their economies in recent days.

What else she’s saying: “We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging,” Schuchat said in the with the Journal’s Howard Bauchner.

  • She said there was “a lot of wishful thinking around the country” that the pandemic would be over by summer. “We are not even beginning to be over this. There are a lot of worrisome factors about the last week or so.”

“We’re not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced and people are isolated who are sick and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control.”

What they’re saying: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a briefing on Monday, “We’re aware that there are embers that need to be put out, but these signs of decreasing fatality, increased and enhanced therapeutics that we’ve identified — four of them: dexamethasone, convalescent plasma, and remdesivir, and one other — that they are working. Remdesivir, in particular, reduces hospital time by a third. 

  • “So these things make us uniquely equipped to handle the increasing cases that we’ve seen.”

Go deeper: Pence disputes that virus surge was caused by states reopening too quickly

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