Dr. Ashish Jha on coronavirus trends: ‘I see the light at the end of the tunnel’

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Harvard Global Health Institute director Dr. Ashish Jha weighed in on the latest coronavirus pandemic statistics Monday, telling “Bill Hemmer Reports” he sees a “light at the end of the tunnel.”

“We’re still in a rising phase here where we’re going to see a lot more cases over the next week,” Jha said. “We’re at about 40,000 cases … I think we’ve got some running room there. We’ve got a lot more cases that are out there that we haven’t identified.

“The good news, Bill, is that testing is starting to get better,” Jha continued. “We did about 45,000 tests yesterday. We probably need to be doing about three times as many as that. So we have a ways to go, but [it’s] slowly making a difference. So I see the light at the end of the tunnel here, but we still have some ways to go.”

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Hemmer pressed Jha on the positive aspects of his message and Jha’s belief that in 10 days, the U.S. will know the next steps to take in order to fight the virus.

“In order to really get our arms around this infection is we’ve got to have extensive testing happening all across America. We need to be able to test every single person who’s got symptoms, we’ve got to be able to test people,” Jha said. “… Everybody who needs the tests should be able to get a test. We’re not there. I think we’re probably, I don’t know, 10 days away from being able to get there at that point. We’ll have a much better sense of where the disease is and then we can make some decisions about what we do next.”

Jha made clear his lief that Americans will still face “hard” times over the next few weeks.

“Social distancing takes about two weeks … to show up in the data in terms of reducing infections. So we’re still catching up from all the infections that we didn’t identify before. But I am hopeful that in, let’s say about 10 days, maybe two weeks, we’ll have much better testing, we’ll have much better data, and we’ll know whether it has been working or not,” Jha said. “And I don’t want to understate how hard things are going to be for the next couple of weeks. A lot more people are going to get sick. A lot of, I think, unfortunately, a lot of people will die. A lot of hospitals are starting to struggle.”

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“We still have many things to do. Long list,” Jha added. “But I just want to tell people there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’ve just got to focus on getting more testing happening.”

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