BOSTON (CBS) — A recent editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine outlines what the U.S. needs to do — not to “flatten the curve” — but to “crush the curve,” and defeat the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Harvey Fineberg is a former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and is assisting the federal government with its response to COVID-19. He says if we take these six steps, we can defeat the virus in just 10 weeks — that is, by early June.

First, the president should give full authority to one commander who can mobilize every civilian and military asset needed to fight the pandemic.

Second, the country should make millions of diagnostic tests available to be used over the next two weeks to trace the scope of the outbreak.

Third, the country should supply healthcare workers with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other supplies necessary to care for the sick.

The fourth step is to put everyone into five different coronavirus buckets: those known to be infected, those assumed to be infected, those who have been exposed, those not known to have been exposed or infected and those who have recovered from infection and are immune.

The next step is to inspire and mobilize the public, individuals and businesses to do their part to socially distance, help friends and neighbors, utilize their skills to make equipment, find treatments and develop innovative solutions.

And finally, we need to learn as we go and make decisions based on science. We need to think about who’s most at risk, who is likely immune and how dangerous contaminated surfaces are so that we can safely decide when to reopen businesses and schools and get the economy back on track.

Dr. Fineberg writes, “Rather than stumble through a series of starts and stops and half-measures on both the health and the economic fronts, we should forge a strategy to defeat the coronavirus and open the way to economic revival. If we act immediately, we can make the anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2020, the day America declares victory over the coronavirus.”

 

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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