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Hopkins expert rebuts Trump in Fox appearance: ‘This virus isn’t going to go away’

Two days after President Donald Trump broke with health experts and said he believes the coronavirus will go away without a vaccine, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security rebutted his claim.

“This virus isn’t going to go away,” Dr. Tom Inglesby told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

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Inglesby, one of the doctors advising Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on his coronavirus task force, cautioned that the United States is still in the early stages of the pandemic. There still aren’t robust enough testing or contact tracing efforts, he said, leaving health experts without a clear sense of how the virus spreads.

“Hopefully over time we’ll learn to live with it, and we’ll be able to reduce the risk of transmission," Inglesby said, "but it’s going to stay as a background problem in the country and around the world until we have a vaccine.”

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Wallace asked Inglesby about efforts to “reopen” the country after the restrictions intended to slow the virus’ spread have devastated the economy. What if, the Fox News host asked, elderly people and those with underlying conditions isolated themselves and everyone else went back to work?

“If you add up the number of people in the country over age 65 with all those who have underlying conditions that would put them at higher risk, that’s about 90 million adults,” Inglesby responded. “There really isn’t any clear way to separate that third of adults from the rest of the country.”

The way other countries have restored their economies, he said, was to give people a sense of confidence that the disease is under control. To do that, states must increase their testing capacity and ability to trace the virus as it spreads.

“We have to show people this disease is under good control,” Inglesby said, “and people will then have confidence in going out and reengaging the economy.”

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