COVID-19Regulatory

When will life return to normal? Expert says US testing is too far behind to know, expects second wave of cases

April 8, 2020 / Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY

While China has lifted a more than two-month coronavirus lockdown in the city of Wuhan, testing is still too behind to know for sure when restrictions should be lifted in the United States, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch told the USA TODAY Editorial Board on Wednesday.

Even when officials relax social distancing measures – allowing students return to school and workers to their jobs – the U.S. may see a second wave of cases, he said.

“If we relax restrictions … there’s every reason to expect a resurgence of cases and we’re back in the same problem,” Lipsitch said.

Lipsitch, an expert in public health interventions, told the Editorial Board he believes a large portion of the population must be immune to the virus either through infection or vaccinations before the country can be reopened. 

Only three states – New York, Louisiana and Washington – have matched or exceeded the testing rate of South Korea, whose testing procedures experts hold out as a model for the world. The country has performed 431,734 tests, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is about 1 out of every 119 people.

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Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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