In the United States, the spread of the coronavirus is happening at a very fast pace as the country has made a new record of average seven-day cases since the start of the pandemic. The previous record average cases for a week were 67,293 cases but on Sunday it reached 68,767 new cases. The country also reported record for daily new cases both on Friday and Saturday with the new cases reported being more than 83,000. Seeing the grim situation former commissioner of the US food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dr. Scott Gottlieb wrote in an open-ed that now may be the time to introduce a limited and temporary mask mandate.
Gottlieb wrote that the mask mandate can be limited for a period of only two months and that it will be easier for the people to wear face masks in winter as compared to summer. He added that this little inconvenience of wearing masks will allow the spread of the coronavirus to be reduced and keep more businesses and schools open.
According to the latest predictions, the deaths by the virus are expected to increase in the winter so Gottlieb believes that to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country the policymakers will need to do something as the stay-at-home orders will get no support.
More than 100,000lives can be saved in the US alone if the people start wearing masks, according to the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation data released on Friday. The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci agrees with the idea of implementing a mask mandate by saying that if the people of the US are not wearing masks, then maybe the government officials of the country should mandate it.
While the spread of coronavirus in the country looks uncontrollable Gottlieb believes that things will look much worse over the period of next month or so and that he doesn’t forecast any forceful policy being implemented to reduce the spread of the virus in the US. He added that if strong policies are not implemented and this window is missed then the cases are going to accelerate and will get much more difficult to control it than it is now.
Gottlieb said that the states should be given the opportunity to decide how they are going to force the mandate however, the ultimate goal should be to make masks wearing a cultural and social norm, and not make it a political statement. President Trump appointed Gottlieb as the commissioner of the FDA and served during the period from May of 2017 to May of 2019.
The US is now at a dangerous tipping point and the country is now entering what will be a steep slope of the epidemic curve, said Gottlieb. People are now socially gathering indoors and also family events are now being moved indoors due to the colder weather which is one of the major reasons for the high rate of the spread of the virus, according to the officials.
The governor of Maryland believes that the number 1 source of the spread of coronavirus in the state this week is the gathering of families. Moreover, health officials in North Carolina reported that the case count in the state has hit its highest on Friday and believes that social and religious gatherings are mainly the reason.