U.S. ‘flying blindly’ and guessing when it comes to new Covid variant, says doctor

Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, warned on “The News with Shepard Smith” that the U.S. is “flying blindly” and “guessing” when it comes to a extremely transmissible new coronavirus variant within the nation.   

“We don’t know because we’re not doing genomic sequencing of the virus in the way that the U.K. and other countries are,” Jha stated. “We have a ton of capacity to do sequencing, it’s not like we can’t do it. We just haven’t and we’ve got to get our act together and start doing this so we can know if there’s another variant circulating in our country.”

The CDC issued a press release saying it has not seen the emergence of a extremely contagious new U.S. variant of the coronavirus, not like variants within the U.Ok. and South Africa. It famous, nevertheless, that there are in all probability many variants rising throughout the globe.

Jha’s statements come on the heels of studies from the White House coronavirus process drive. The report stated there may very well be a new Covid variant that had advanced inside the U.S. which was 50% extra transmissible, and was propelling the unfold, in accordance to a doc obtained by NBC News.

The U.S. recorded 4,085 deaths Wednesday, the primary time the nation topped 4,000, according to a CNBC evaluation of Johns Hopkins knowledge. Jha advised host Shepard Smith that it’s “stunning” as to why the U.S. has not achieved large-scale genomic sequencing of individuals contaminated with Covid, however famous that he was not “surprised” primarily based on management from the White House.

“A White House that is disengaged, uninterested, and not helpful really, really does hamper the national response,” Jha stated in a Friday night interview. “Some states are starting to pick up the slack, but it turns out in a pandemic, having the federal government is really useful.”

President-elect Joe Biden introduced a serious shift within the nation’s struggle towards Covid in a new name to launch almost all the vaccine provide as soon as he takes workplace. 

In a press release to NBC News, a spokesman for Biden’s transition wrote that, “The President-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine … and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now.”

It’s a reversal of technique. Under the Trump administration, the federal authorities has been stockpiling doses to be sure that persons are in a position to obtain a second shot. The Pfizer vaccine requires two pictures 21 days aside and the Moderna vaccine requires two pictures 28 days aside.

So far, states have acquired greater than 22 million doses, however about 70% of these doses are sitting on cabinets, in accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jha stated that he “fully supports the move of the Biden team” to launch the Covid vaccine doses. 

“We are in the middle of a terrible crisis,” Jha stated. “We’ve got to get people vaccinated, and getting that first shot out into people’s arms is critical, and then making sure that the second shot follows relatively soon thereafter I think is doable.”

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