Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that "we're in for a whole lot of hurt" this winter as coronavirus numbers spike. A new opinion piece in the Washington Post agrees—but also suggests that Fauci may have understated things. Penned by former Trump homeland security adviser Thomas Bossert, infectious diseases expert James Lawler, and Richard Danzig, who served as secretary of the US Navy under Bill Clinton, the op-ed cites the "good news" of Pfizer's vaccine progress, the potential for it to soon be given emergency approval for use, and President-elect Joe Biden already working with his own experts to get things under control once he takes office. Still, the three write, "these achievements will be too late," noting that we simply can't wait for 2021 to start taking drastic action.
The authors note that in the Midwest, states are seeing an alarmingly exponential growth of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations—and that "the probable and tragic reality is that much of the rest of the United States is on the same path." They predict that by Inauguration Day, there will be 400,000 new cases daily, which could bring "deaths on a scale not seen since the 1918 influenza pandemic." The authors suggest the president-elect's team, along with the current administration, immediately reach out to governors and other local officials to set up a national strategy for emergency actions, with the main focus being setting up interventions to prevent superspreader events. Those recommended interventions: keep all indoor gatherings of adults to 10 people or fewer; shutter indoor restaurants, bars, and clubs; and put in place a national mask mandate. "Leadership cannot await Inauguration Day," they write. "Seventy days from now is too late for transition." (Read their entire piece here.)