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Expert: Washington could need ‘complete lockdown’ to fully stop coronavirus

A nearly empty dining area near where food trucks park at a downtown Seattle park. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

While a measure to ban all events over 250 people in three counties could prove effective, truly slowing the spread of coronavirus in Washington state could require even more extreme measures.

Expert: Washington ‘potentially on cusp of Wuhan 2.0’ with coronavirus

Given the limited ability to test and track coronavirus in the United States, epidemiologist Dr. Eric Ding sees extreme quarantine measures — like Washington’s event ban — as the next best solution.

“With our under-diagnosis and under-testing, and [given that we] know that there are way more cases out there than we can identify, the only way we can truly stop it right now is by blocking major events,” he told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show.

Even so, that may not be enough. Dr. Ding theorizes that if the state truly wants to curb this crisis, we may have to do much more.

“The best case scenario is that we have a complete and almost draconian lockdown, which is unfortunate but necessary,” he advised.

China’s Wuhan region did something similar to stem the tide of its own outbreak, and it’s seen positive results in terms of limiting the spread of the virus.

Here in the United States, coronavirus is spreading more every day, a reality that Ding says Washington needs to recognize and prepare for.

Why social distancing is crucial for curbing coronavirus spread

“Right now we’re still in the mode of exponential increase [in coronavirus cases],” he described. “Everyone should start making arrangements, because this epidemic is not stopping and has no signs of stopping in the near future.”

If a full-on “everybody stay in your homes” quarantine actually was enacted in Western Washington, Dr. Ding sees that as something that could have the state “turn the corner and … actually decrease the number of new cases per day.”

“Until this containment is almost foolproof and people actually abide by it, I don’t think we’re gonna be able to stop this until we actually have a vaccine,” he added.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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