Joe Biden, Rob Stein, Allison Aubrey discussed on Marketplace
During this pandemic, there have been waves of Corona virus infections in different parts of the country. Well today, it's hard to overstate how bad things are across the US. We're talking about an exponential rise in infections and hospitalizations, and it's everywhere on Lee won state had a decrease in average daily new cases over the last week. Joining us with the latest about what's happening and what could be done about it. Our NPR health correspondent Allison Aubrey and Rob Stein, could have you both back here. Hey, Are you good to be here? Rob? Let's start with you Bring us up to date on how bad things are right now. Well, you know, every day just seems to bring more bad news. Unfortunately, more than 100,000. New infections have now been reported every day from more than a week now with 143,000 reported just yesterday, and that's a new record. So it looks like the surge is accelerating, and the number of people who are so sick from cover that they are in the hospital keeps hitting all time highs to more than 65,000. People are now hospitalized and hospitals are at capacity or close to capacity and lots of places they're running short on doctors and nurses. And the number of people dying every day just keeps mounting more than 1500 died yesterday. So public health experts are warning that we have to do something. We have to do something fast to try to turn this around or this winter could be just terrifying. But the good news, Ari is that you know, we know what can work. We just have to finally. Do it right. I mean, it's shocking how silent the White House has been in the middle of all of this, but President elect Joe Biden is talking a lot about his plans to address this pandemic. Alison I know you've been in touch with his team. What does he have in mind? You know, we already here the president elect laying the groundwork for mask mandates nationwide, and he doesn't need to wait Ari. Until he's sworn in to start working on this. He has made it very clear that his team will work with governors and mayors to work towards this end, so state leaders have been given a heads up. This is the president elect's goal and We'll likely hear Biden repeat what he has been saying that masks save lives now rob the guidance on how masks work in who they protect has shifted a little bit, so catch us up on the latest and also are there other steps People should be taking two Yeah. Yeah. The CDC is now emphasizing that mass don't just protect other people. They protect you, too. And you know if everybody finally started wearing one that could save tens of thousands of lives. And you know, everybody wants to avoid the kind of big lockdown we had in the spring. And the thing is that's still possible their arm work targeted kinds of closures that could be done the focus on the places where the virus spreads the most. In fact, some new research is came out a couple days ago, looking at 10 big cities around the country. It found that something like 70% of infections in current places, like restaurants and gyms and grocery stores, But you don't necessarily have to shut them down just by limited capacity to say 20 or 25%. Could cut infections by like 80%. I talked about this with Serena Chang at Stanford, who helped do this research there A number of things that we can do that would make a very big difference to the good thing is that you don't have to go all or nothing. But you know, Ari, we probably have to make some tough choices. Like what's more important keeping bar's open or schools open, you know, skip those big family gatherings and holiday parties to save lives because we need to cut infections. If you want those schools to be open, given the numbers, Allison does it seem likely that we're gonna have stricter restrictions coming. You know, we have seen a hodgepodge of new restrictions. Everything from San Francisco, shutting down into our dining restrictions on nonessential businesses and cities from New Jersey and main, too old Hasso, Texas. And given the surge Chicago has issued a stay at home advisory that Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced today. But the patchwork of restrictions is not enough. That's what many public health officials say. This is a nationwide problem. But there's no nationwide strategy and what Biden's team is saying is that this will change. His plan is really to work with scientists to establish clear guidelines and metrics for window open and close businesses or schools. When to restrict capacity. So a much more coordinated approach. I gotta ask. We got good news this week about a vaccine and you will once that's widespread things could start returning to normal. So Rob does this positive news mean maybe the winter and spring don't look as bleak as they might Well, you know this for sure. The fax news about the vaccine is promising, and the first doses could be available by the end of the year. But the reality is it's going to take months, probably many months before any vaccine is widely available. Lots of people could get the two doses that they're going to need. And we just can't like, wait for that. Even if we get a vaccine, it's not like boom. The virus is just suddenly gone. We're still gonna have to learn to live with this virus. So we're probably gonna have to keep doing some version of the mask wearing and the social distancing for awhile, and we're still going to need more testing in contact tracers and isolating infected people to keep the virus under control. So, Alison, what is by then say about a vaccine and its distribution. You know, his plan calls for something that governors have been asking for. Some governors have been asking for an investment in vaccine distribution and education. Just before the election. I spoke to Vivek Murthy. He's now leading Biden's coronavirus task force. He told me one of the obstacles here is mistrust. We know. Polls show that many people say they'd be hesitant to get a groan of virus vaccine. They will have to be an investment mating building public education campaigns how people understand. More about a vaccine. So the Biden team is proposing investing billions of dollars in the vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan. That's NPR cell science and health correspondents Allison Aubrey and Rob Stein. Thank you. You better hurry. Great to be here. Thanks now to a more personal story about loss and the pandemic. A lot changed in the 26 years that Randy and ELISA you know, hosts were married, but not their song is always here. That's neon Moon.