Peter Drobac speaks to Natalie Allen on CNN Newsroom Live, 20 June 2020

published on July 13, 2020

Let's talk about what's going on in the United States with dr Peter drobik and infectious disease and global health expert at the University of Oxford joining us from there live good morning to you Peter good morning Natalie well I want to talk

About the country as a whole in a moment but let's start in Tulsa Oklahoma we are just hours away from president Trump's rally the crowd will be huge cases in that state are up 110 percent from last week masks will be handed out but

They're not mandatory is that enough to protect people and a crowded indoor venue it's not and this is just such a high high risk undertaking one thing we've learned during this pandemic is that super

Spreader events have been really important drivers events whether that's a church or a pub in South Korea or a Mardi Gras Festival in the US if you were to design a super spreader event based on what we know about Koga 19 it

Would look a lot like this rally today so I'm extremely concerned as most in public health are about the the risk posed by getting 17,000 people into an enclosed indoor space well it's not just Oklahoma as we just heard seeing a huge

Rise in cases 23 states have seen spikes in cases compared to just last week what is going wrong in the us why are we seeing this well it really comes down to a total failure of leadership at this stage of the pandemic we know enough

About how the virus spreads how it kills and how to stop it that we've got a playbook that does work unfortunately that just hasn't been followed in many parts of the country so what happened was that in many states things reopens

Too quickly and we're now starting to see the the results of that this is not down to increased testing we're seeing test positivity rates go up we're seeing hospitals start to fill up this is an extraordinarily dangerous moment in

America why is it happening in the US and not Europe what did they do that we're not doing well a couple of things you know across many parts of Europe we saw we saw a massive first wave that overwhelms health system in some parts

Of some of those countries as we did in the US we also saw fairly significant lockdowns I think in many European countries maybe save the UK we held on to them a little bit longer and and waited until

Transmission was at a lower rate before reopening and that happened more carefully in many parts of Europe we are seeing more widespread mass cues we're seeing much higher rates of testing and in some places contact tracing programs

So unfortunately what happened in the us is after all those weeks of people making these great sacrifices of sheltering in place we took our foot off the gas too quickly and now we're paying the consequences

Right some people thought that it was over and we're still in phase one and that previous report we just saw from our reporter there filed showed the hesitation of people to wear masks and some leaders hesitating to mandate mask

Wearing plus social distancing where do you think state leaders should be on this so if you look at a place like Arizona or Florida right now we have is the early phases of a raging uncontrolled epidemic and it's already

At a level where even if there was great contact tracing in place it's not going to be able to keep up with transmission of this level so there's really only a couple of options to slow this down one would be to move back towards a lockdown

Kind of scenario where you really slow down the reopening and get people back home and that frankly that would be advisable the second thing that could be done is to make mask-wearing ubiquitous when people are out in public that can

Significantly reduce transmission the more evidence we have the more important it is it could be as much as a six-fold decrease in transmission if people are wearing masks so governor's need to think about this and if they're

Reluctant to slow down their reopening you know the only other tool they've got is to make mask wearing the norm I want to talk with you though before we go about the world what the world is seeing Peter more than 150,000 new cases were

Reported Friday the most in a single day so far months into this months of all kinds of responses to try to limit the spread what does that tell you about this viral well as we've been saying for a long

Time we're still very much in the early days of this pandemic and anyone who thought we were out of the woods unfortunately was wrong and we're seeing the epidemic grow around the world pandemic grow on the world you know as

Quickly as it ever has with really concerning developments in Latin America in some parts of sub-saharan Africa and elsewhere the flipside is that we have learned places like New Zealand and South Korea and China have taught us how

To suppress the virus and get it under control there is a playbook and it's not too late for us to go on offense against this virus and try to to crush it it won't be easy it will require sustained investment and

Attention and solidarity but it's really what we have to do until we get a vaccine otherwise we're just going to continue to see extraordinary levels of unacceptable deaths it's just going to be a cycle and and we will have trouble

Getting ahead of it Peter drøbak always appreciate your insights thanks for joining us thanks Natalie

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