Joining us now is Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert wood Johnson found cautious and former acting director of the CDC and, you know, a very good friend to many of us at “Gma.” Rich, I need to ask you this because you have dedicated your professional life to public health. 200,000 American lives have been lost to coronavirus. When you hear that number, what goes through your mind?
You know, robin, it is absolutely mind-numbing to think that we have lost that many people. Each individual representing a friend, a family member, someone whose life had value. One of the things that’s so true in public health is that it’s much easier for people to grasp the meaning when two or three people die in an accident than it is to truly understand what it means to lose 250,000 people and I worry, robin, if we don’t change what we’re doing, we’re going to be having a conversation before the end of the year about 300,000 people.
You think that we will reach that by the end of the year in just a matter of six weeks or so, rich? You believe that? We’re losing more than a thousand people a day and the numbers are rising and if we don’t recommit, I am very worried about that. Okay, rich, andou know here in new yk city, the positivity rate has reached 3% and public schools have closed again. What do you make of that and what does this mean for children returning home?
Yeah, you know, robin, I think it’s the wrong way to go. You know, it’s so important that we’re guided by public health science, and we were all concerned. I’m a pediatrician up here and I was very concerned about kids going back to school and what it might mean but what we’ve seen in a lot of school districts and New York City is really the poster child for this is that they’ve been able to get kids back into school safely.
Then’t seen increase spread. They haven’t seen increase spread to teachers and to staff and within the community and they set this mark of 3% at the start with a concern that if it got to that level they would see increasing spread from the community in the schools and back and forth.