Shutdowns inevitable if U.S. doesn’t change COVID-19 response, say experts

Unless Americans tamp down transmission of the coronavirus in the weeks before “indoor weather” arrives, new lockdowns are likely in store this winter, according to experts.

In an August 10, 2020 STAT article, they expressed concern about pandemic-weary Americans who seem more interested in resuming pre-COVID-19 lifestyles than in suppressing the virus so that schools can safely reopen and so that places like restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms can function with some restrictions.

“We should be aiming for no transmission before we open the schools and we put kids in harm’s way—kids and teachers and their caregivers,” said Caroline Buckee, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and associate director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD). “And so, if that means no gym, no movie theaters, so be it.” If the country doesn’t alter its current trajectory, “I can’t see a way that we’re going to have restaurants and bars open in the winter, frankly,” she said. “We’ll have resurgence. Everything will get shut down again.”

Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology and a CCDD faculty member, also expressed frustration with the status quo. “We just continue to squander every bit of opportunity we get with this epidemic to get it under control,” he said.

Read the STAT article: Winter is coming: Why America’s window of opportunity to beat back Covid-19 is closing