In joining me now is a very familiar face these days in this crisis, it’s dr. Anthony pouchy, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Foundry welcome back to Meet the Press good to be with you chuck. Let me start with the testing issue and I started with there, because I feel as if this is we’re on repeat every week. We’Re told no we’re ramping up and every week we don’t ramp up yeah. That’S that. Why should we believe that this is the week that this is going to work? Yeah Chuck? I think the reason is because we’ve really made somewhat of a sea change here before I mean obviously early on, we weren’t in the situation where we could actually get the test out on a broad way – and I mentioned on the show last week that we need To get the private sector involved and just a couple of days ago we had the CEOs there who are going to be now putting it on full overdrive. So I would expect that very soon when I say soon, I’m talking about days two days to a week where you’re gon na start to see it go up like this. Not everybody tomorrow is going to be able to get a test, but pretty soon you’re gon na see a major escalation of capability and implementation.
I just want to point out – and this is just one example – Steve people’s he’s – a reporter for The Associated Press. He shared his experience. I’M presenting I’m presenting mouths symptoms, headache, mild fever, mild cough I want to get tested in North Jersey. Primary care tells me go to er. Er tells me to call City Health Department. Health Department tells me to go to Urgent Care. Urgent Care. Tells me to go to ER and everybody says no tests. Yeah! That’S right and you’re gon na hear about that. Even a little bit, you’re gon na hear individual ones, but as a group, it’s gon na change Chuck. It really is because, once you get the heavy hitters from industry and private sector involved, they’re gon na be able to make it go. What’S realistic about the spread of this virus right now and we’ve had you know Governor Mike DeWine who’s gon na be on the show later he he goes well. Yes, we only have 26 confirmed cases, but his scientific advisors assume there’s hundreds. There might be. A hundred thousand people with it you know hyoh, is that a fair estimate. It is the nature of outbreaks. Are that you percolate a little bit along and then you reach what we call an exponential fave. If you look at every curve chuck it does this and then it goes way up what we and Italy is an example of individual country that did not implement them massive type of containment and mitigation, and it went way up so they’re here now, they’re really struggling Our goal right now is that if you do nothing, it’s gon na do this we’re gon na get more cases no matter what, but we need to do with containment and mitigation. Is too blunt that curve goes left to its own devices. It’S gon na.
Do this? How do you know when this curve is blunt, and do you have any evidence that we’re blunt in it? You know right now. Well, I’m sure that we are with what we’re doing, but the numbers don’t tell us that yet so, what’s gon na happen is that if it goes like this and continues and doesn’t come down, if you have a mound, you’ve done something. But you don’t know about it until after the fact on any given day, you can’t say: oh we’ve blunted the numbers, because the numbers are still going up, no matter what you do, it’s, how much up they go. That is the issue. I guess the question is: are we are we taking these precautions that you and others have said? Sir say I don’t know if you’ve seen overnight these pictures at various airports as people scramble to come back from Europe? Stuck, I mean look at these crowds and O’Hare. You had crowds in Dallas at Dulles, and these are people because of this worried they want to get back into the country from Europe and they’re being jammed together. The this is the federal government. You’Ve, the governor of Illinois basically said. Look. We can’t do anything about this. This is the federal government. What went wrong here? No, I don’t think anything went wrong. I think it’s just the nature of the problem.
When you have a situation where people are in different countries that there are going to be restrictions, American citizens that family others, permanent residents can get back, they don’t need to immediately get back because they think they’re gon na be left out the element, but they came. But that’s what they did: that’s what they did, but they’re, not they will be able to get back when they do get back. They’Re gon na have some enhanced screening depending on the country, if you’re in the European group, if you’re now with the UK and Ireland, what you’re gon na have is you’re gon na have two weeks of of self-imposed isolation. Italy you’ve brought up Italy a few times. I want to bring up a story here in the Boston Globe, where one Italian journalist share the following remark and, and just said, many of us were too selfish to follow suggestions to change our behavior. Now we’re in lockdown and people are needlessly dying. This is st Patty’S Day weekend, there’s been plenty of bars and restaurants crowded. Is this a mistake? A France and France just shut it down. Spain is shutting it down. I think Pennsylvania is thinking about doing this. Should the country shut down bars and restaurants? Well, you know that’s an individual question.
What the country should do is absolutely, and more so proportionately in those areas that have communities spread, but as a country, what areas don’t have communities? Well, you know I mean real obvious community spreads. So the question is that you want to bring down and hunker down everywhere. Even more so I’m not saying the rest of the country is: ok, don’t worry about it. Everybody’S got to get involved, indistinct themselves socially. If you are in an area with this clear community spread, you have to be much much more intense about how you do that. That’S where you get things like school closings, you don’t want to school, close every school in the country, but there are areas well. Why don’t you – and I ask this because it is it? Do you worry that if some places do a lockdown, but some don’t I take you know, I think Indiana is one of the every state that touches Indiana has closed schools, but Indiana hasn’t, for instance, so is. Are you risking something? If not, everybody is following the same guidelines.
No Chuck! You always want to be ahead of the curve. I mean the golden rule that I say is that when you think you’re doing too much you’re, probably doing enough or not enough, okay, all right! That’S the thing! You’Ve got to do you don’t want to be complacent.
You always want to be ahead of the curve, but it depends on how far ahead of the curve you want to be. Don’T even for a second think that I’m saying we shouldn’t I like to be criticized when I say oh you’re, being too over-reactive, that’s good from there right. Let me ask it this way: we’ve got a health care. Officials say this to us that, if, if we could guarantee that people would get their sick leave pay guarantee that we can basically do what FEMA doesn’t in a natural disaster, give people cash for the basics for groceries, and would you prefer a fourteen-day just sort of National shutdown to slow this, you know I would prefer as much as we possibly could. I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting. Okay, have you made this? Have you made this point of yes known inside the administration? Yes, is it getting pushback or are they also getting in fairness? They listen and they generally go with what we say so are we should we expect more closures, should should more Americans be prepared to be hunkering down at their house? I think Americans should be prepared that they’re gon na have to hunker down a significantly more than we as a country are doing.
That means no restaurants, no bars things like when you say no, you know unlikely, I mean yeah much more so I mean obviously you’re gon na have people are gon na go to restaurants anyway, but for the most part – and particularly if I can say this – this Is particularly appropriate and relevant for people at the high-risk, the elderly and those who have underlying conditions right now and should really hunker down? Have you seen the reports out of France that they’ve had quite a few patients under 50? Have some serious underlying conditions with coronavirus? Does that tell you that maybe we’ve made some assumptions that aren’t true? No, no! Actually, if you look yeah well, it’s pot. I wouldn’t say that are not true, but the fact is from the data from China and the data from Korea. We’Ve seen a very, very, very small percentage of people who are younger, as we start seeing new data of younger people who are getting in trouble. We want to look at that data and also look at the virus to make sure the virus hasn’t changed. Are you concerned that younger folks, because we’ve all told them you’re gon na be fine, maybe are not practising as much social distancing, not realizing? They can be spreaders.
I think they should be practicing social distancing, because even if and I think it’s still true – that younger people are much much less risk of getting into trouble, that doesn’t mean they’re, not gon na get infected and then they are going to infect the older people. So everybody should be taking really good care to avoid infection. Alright, and the final thing I want to ask you about: is our Hospital preparedness, the ventilator situation in the respirator situation both seemed to be potentially dire? If this, if we don’t flatten the curve, how concerned well, if you have a really massive increase in cases, there’s no country or anybody in the world, that’s going to be perfectly prepared. But we have a stockpile and we will hopefully be able to backfill and refill that stockpile, but I think people should remember that’s the reason why we want to blunt that curve. If you let the curve get up there, then the entire society is gon na.
Be here should all elective surgery be postponed right now know. For the most part, elective surgery keep people out of the hospitals except those who need to be in the hospitals. And if you think you have symptoms, don’t go to a hospital correct, don’t contact a physician, contact, a healthcare provider and get some instructions about how you can get tested but stay home. All right and final question is this: I want to show the picture of the briefing yesterday. Are you guys practicing enough social distancing? I you know at the time the president was being tested, but I mean you looked up here and a lot of us were going. Wait a minute we’ve been told not to be in a crowd that small right, you know a crowd, that’s small, but sometimes there’s business that you need to do, but I’m working on a Chuck, I’m working on getting everybody to do this accessible, elbows out, doctor pouchy. I know these have been some long nights some long days, thanks for coming on and giving us more information, always good to be with you jack. I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you soon. I think so. All right, hello from Washington, I’m Chuck Todd and thanks for checking out the Meet the Press channel on YouTube click on the button down here to subscribe and click over here to watch. The latest interviews highlights and other digital exclusives