Others died at home, too sick or scared to go to the hospital for coronavirus testing. Their stories never came to the death plan, which means the tolls can be much higher.
Six meters away may not be enough, experts warn
In a commentary published in the journal Science, the experts emphasized the importance of masks and regular, widespread tests.
They pointed to places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where masking is universal and the virus has been controlled.
“Evidence suggests that [the novel coronavirus] silently spreads in aerosols that are exhaled by highly infectious infected individuals without symptoms, “wrote Chia Wang of National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan and Kimberly Prather and Dr. Robert Schooley of the University of California, San Diego.
“Increasing evidence of [the coronavirus] suggests that the WHO’s six-foot recommendation is probably not sufficient under many indoor conditions where aerosols can remain airborne for hours, accumulate over time, and track airflow over distances longer than six feet, “they wrote.
The three experts are specialists in chemistry and infectious diseases. They said that aerosols from breathing and breathing can accumulate and remain contagious in the indoor air for hours and can easily be inhaled into the lungs.
It makes wearing worms all the more important, they said, even when people keep their distance.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have addressed the issue of respiratory drops produced when a person coughs or sneezes. It has said they “can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled in the lungs.”
Dissemination is more likely when people are in close contact with each other, or “within about 6 feet,” the CDC says.
While health officials have focused on drops, the three experts said “a large proportion” of the spread of coronavirus disease appears to be through airborne transmissions of aerosols produced by asymptomatic individuals during breathing and speaking.
Changing behavior is more important than a vaccine
The United States did not have to lose 100,000 people during the first five months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an expert on viruses and biotechnology.
Better preparation and guidance could have helped lower the death toll, says Dr. William Haseltine, chairman of ACCESS Health International.
“We already know how to control the virus in a large population. It can be done through human behavior,” the former Harvard Medical School professor told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “It would not have happened if we had been prepared.”
Experts had worked with the US Department of Defense to plan and protect the country from bioterrorism, as well as against threats like the coronavirus.
“It was quite predictable that another coronavirus was on the way,” Haseltine said. “The mechanism is, the stock, the drugs,” he said. “There was a hole in our safety net.”
China, New Zealand and Australia have effectively handled coronavirus outbreaks, reducing their cases through testing, contact tracking and isolation, Haseltine said.
The key to their success was behavioral change without the benefit of a vaccine or effective drug.
Some states are better able to cope with infections
While the nation is trying to keep the infection level down, some states are doing better than others.
Illinois seems to be entering a “downward trend”, with the week ending May 16 being the first with a lower coronavirus death rate than the week before.
Washington, DC will move Friday to Phase 1 of the reopening after it had a 14-day decline in cases of coronavirus community spread, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
But other regions did not fare so well. As of Wednesday, there were 14 states where the number of cases is still trending upward.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves warned residents to remain vigilant as the state still sees a steady number of cases.
California became the fourth state on Wednesday with more than 100,000 cases. New York, New Jersey and Illinois were the first three to reach the milestone.
CNN’s Holly Yan, Maggie Fox, Steve Almasy and Jay Croft contributed to this report