Health expert calls for national strategy to combat coronavirus

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Coronavirus cases are surging across the country and while some states are shutting down and increasing restrictions, others seem to be ignoring the raging pandemic.

Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, says the mixed bag of responses is causing even more problems for states. She says it’s time to have a nationwide standard when it comes to mask mandates, business closures and more.

“We need a national plan for things like vaccine distribution, for testing, contact tracing, that we have not had all along,” she said.

Dr. Wen is hoping the incoming Biden administration will convince the public to buy into health messages.

"I hope that they will not only enlists top public health experts, which is essential, but they will also reach out to prominent Republicans, to economists and business leaders, to pastors and church leaders,” she said.

Dr. Wen stresses that a national strategy for battling coronavirus is crucial, but can only be accomplished when the public trusts the government.

“You could have the best policy on paper that's based on the best theories but, if people are not going to be following that guidance then it's not going to do much good,” she said.

She notes that the first step in creating a national coronavirus strategy is to get more Americans to wear face masks.

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, Dr. Wen also said that a national lockdown would not solve the coronavirus pandemic.

“Every time it’s brought up, it distracts attention from practical public health measures that can work to control COVID-19,” she wrote.

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