A top member of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 task force says the country needs “targeted” restrictions to contain the coronavirus, not a nationwide lockdown — as suggested by another doctor on the panel.
“We’re not in a place where we’re saying shut the whole country down. We got to be more targeted,” Dr. Vivek Murthy said Friday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“If we don’t do that, what you’re going to find is that people will become even more fatigued. Schools won’t be open to children and the economy will be hit harder, so we’ve got to follow science, but we’ve also got to be more precise.”
The suggestion from Murthy, a co-chair on the newly formed coronavirus advisory board, comes after another task force member, Dr. Michael Osterholm, floated a four- to six-week lockdown earlier this week.
Murthy pointed to the more targeted approach used in New York City — which shut down businesses and schools in hot-spot zip codes.
Former Surgeon General Vivek MurthyDemocratic National Convention/Pool via REUTERS
“I think that’s how we thought about it in the spring,” the former surgeon general said of a more widespread lockdown, “but I think we’ve learned a lot since then about how this virus spreads and what we can do to reduce risk.
“And right now, the way we should be thinking about this is more like a series of restrictions that we dial up or down depending on how bad spread is taking place in a specific region.”
Joe Biden attends a coronavirus briefing at The Queen theater on Oct. 28 in Wilmington, Delaware.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Murthy said the US needs to focus on the hardest-hit communities and rolling out better testing to combat the virus.
“We still don’t have adequate testing so anyone who wants a test can get one and get results quickly,” he said. “We still don’t have enough testing to be able to do surveillance testing in universities and workplaces and in other places that are higher risk like prisons and nursing homes, so that is an area where you’ll see President-elect Biden focusing expanding capacity.”
The US recorded more than 168,000 cases of coronavirus on Thursday alone, Murthy said, just over a week after the country hit 100,000 cases in a single day for the first time.