Experts advise prompt lockdowns in 13 states

bdmetronews Desk ॥ A report released this week by the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force warns that 21 states are now in the “red zone” and need to take aggressive steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.

That sounds serious. But according to new, comprehensive national guidelines from a network of research, policy and public-health experts convened by Harvard University’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, the latest federal report probably isn’t serious enough.

Why? Because the steps it recommends may be too weak to suppress the virus, and the threshold at which it recommends them may be too high.

The Trump task force, for instance, doesn’t advise authorities to issue stay-at-home orders — anywhere. But if the Harvard experts had their way, 13 states would lock down right now. Another 22 would be considering lockdowns.

The White House task force and the Harvard researchers are relying on the same data. They’re using similar color-coded risk charts. They even share a goal: to provide clear metrics that will “help communities determine the severity of the outbreak they are responding to,” as the Harvard initiative puts it, then offer “broad guidance on the intensity of control efforts needed based on these COVID risk levels.”

Yet Harvard and the Trump task force arrive at very different conclusions about how communities should be responding.

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