Dr. Robbie Goldstein, Infectious Disease Physician and former candidate for Massachusetts's 8th Congressional District, joins Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers to break down the latest coronavirus developments, as Dr. Deborah Birx warns the pandemic will need a more "aggressive approach."
KRISTIN MYERS: Dr. Goldstein, you know, we just heard Anjalee discussing about Dr. Deborah Birx and how she's been sounding a dire alarm about the virus. This, of course, has been happening while we've heard the president saying that we are turning a corner, that the case counts are only going on because the testing is going up. He's been holding maskless rallies. I feel like I know what you're going to say but hoping you can highlight for us how you view this infighting and this disagreement. And do you see that as the reason the United States has not been able to come up with a comprehensive national plan or strategy to fight this virus?
ROBBIE GOLDSTEIN: I think it's very clear. We have one side that is talking truth and one side that is not listening to evidence and not listening to the data. I think what Dr. Birx was sounding the alarm about is exactly what physicians and scientists have been talking about since the start of this pandemic, how aggressive this virus is, how easy it is to transmit the virus, and how we are oftentimes many steps back by the time we start to recognize the increase in case counts, the increase in hospitalizations.
I think what we're hearing from the president is more of the same of the past nine months-- this denial of the pandemic that actually is existing here in the United States. If you had told me back in February that we would be close to 10 million infections just here in the United States, I wouldn't believe you. And it is really quite remarkable that we have gotten ourselves to this place.
KRISTIN MYERS: You know, we've seen this virus, this pandemic become increasingly politicized over the last several months. And, of course, now, we have an election today. How important do you see today's election and really the election results to this fight against the coronavirus?
ROBBIE GOLDSTEIN: At the top of the ballot is Joe Biden and Donald Trump, right? But, really, it is COVID that is on the ballot today. And we know that this has been the issue that has predominated news coverage. It has dominated the debates. It has dominated everything about this election cycle for good reason. Over 200,000 Americans are dead from COVID. Like I said, nearly 10 million Americans have been infected.
I think that what is very clear is that today's election will decide how this country moves forward with this pandemic. It will bring to light what we're going to do about a national mask strategy. What we're going to do about testing. What we will do about vaccine and treatment distribution and how we think about equity in those conversations. COVID is very much on the ballot. And it is very important as people are going into that booth today or as they voted over the past few weeks that they think about that choice.
KRISTIN MYERS: Doctor, what is the outlook as you see it for coronavirus over the next several months as we have winter coming, the flu season is coming? Even if former Vice President Joe Biden wins today, he will not be taking office until January, which leaves several more months for this virus to really continue to surge and spike around the country. So what is your outlook as you see it from today, November 3 until January?
ROBBIE GOLDSTEIN: You know, I'm sitting right now in the hospital. I'm on actually the Infectious Disease Council Service. And I can tell you that we are seeing increasing cases that are coming into the hospital, increasing numbers of positive tests. We are seeing our hospital fill back up. I think you've heard from Dr. Fauci, now, from Dr. Birx, from many in medicine and science that we are about to enter some hard months ahead.
As the weather gets colder, as people go inside, as we have fatigue from all the COVID-related restrictions that we've had over the past six to nine months, we are going to see a resurgence of this virus. And you're right. There is nothing that a President-elect Joe Biden would be able to do starting on November 4. It would not be until January probably with a new Congress and with a new president that we would see a huge shift in our policy around COVID. So I am like many other physicians-- nervous. I am anxious. I'm aware that we are entering some very hard months.
KRISTIN MYERS: Really quickly here with you, Doctor, if you did not vote early, if you did not mail in your ballot, is voting today safe?
ROBBIE GOLDSTEIN: Voting can be safe. It can be safe if you wear a mask. It can be safe if you bring your own pen. It can be safe if you observe physical distancing at polling locations. Voting is incredibly important. And everybody should have the opportunity to vote. You can do that safely-- just take those commonsense precautions that we've been talking about since the beginning of this pandemic.