Nov 15, 2020 - Health

Biden coronavirus adviser: "We do not need" a nationwide shelter-in-place order

Atul Gawande, a member of President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the former vice president's team does not believe a nationwide shelter-in-place order is necessary to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The big picture: Governors and state-level officials have so far made the call on how long stay-at-home orders should be in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, not the federal government. Virus cases are currently soaring in practically every state.

Where it stands: States, including New Mexico and Oregon, are issuing new stay-at-home orders and telling businesses to close as coronavirus infections reach new highs across the country.

What he's saying: "We are not in support of a nationwide lockdown and believe there is not a scenario, unless — there simply isn't a scenario, because we can get this under control," Gawande said.

  • "The critical parts are understanding what we've learned since we did a nationwide lockdown in early April," he said.
  • "You can have targeted measures, building on mask-wearing to include widespread testing, can include dialing up and down capacity restrictions, and those measures need to happen in a more localized basis," he said, praising New York City for using ZIP codes to identify hotspots that need more COVID restrictions.
  • "We do not need to go into a nationwide shelter-in-place shutdown."

The bottom line: The U.S. has never controlled the coronavirus and isn't about to start.

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