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People ‘have gotten cabin fever and let their guard down’: Doctor on COVID-19 resurgence

Dr. William Yates, Former Trauma Surgeon and Founder of Yates Protect Infrared Thermal Detection joined Yahoo Finance Live to break down the COVID-19 resurgence in cases and what Americans can expect in the coming months.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: We want to bring in Dr. William Yates. He's a former Trauma Surgeon and also founder of Yates Protect. And Dr. Yates, great to have you on the show. We're seeing more and more restrictions here implemented across the country. In New York City-- where we are based-- indoor dining closed at the beginning of this week. More businesses are fighting to stay open. What do you think needs to be done at this point to curb the spread that seems to be gaining momentum here-- continues to gain momentum, I should say, across the US?

WILLIAM YATES: Yeah. Of course, simple things first. Wearing masks, social distancing. I think temperature taking and tracking people that have had COVID are very important. I think people over the winter time have gotten cabin fever and have just like put their guard down and felt that COVID is retreating. But we know for a fact COVID is not retreating. It's actually on the attack. The vaccine will help, but it's not going to be the panacea that everyone thinks.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Dr. Yates, as I watch the snow fall outside the window here in New York City with temperatures in the 30s, no one's going outside today or tomorrow. But after this--

WILLIAM YATES: Right.

ADAM SHAPIRO: --the new rapid tests that everyone's talking about, are you going to be able to do rapid testing at home? Even here in the city, if you go to get COVID test, now just doing the rapid nose swab. Because the more intrusive test takes eight days to get the results and, by then, could have infect other people, what do you think is going to happen? Are we going to be testing ourselves at home going forward?

WILLIAM YATES: Well, I think we should. A lot of people are being tested like when they go into a hospital and tested. And then a week later, having their procedure. I don't think that's good. I think you should test every day. Even if you test me yesterday, it's a possibility that I might not test positive till today. The rapid tests are important, have to be approved by the FDA, because there are a lot of tests out here that really are not testing anything. And people are getting a false sense of security. So you have to get the right test, but you have to do it often. I would say in schools and in places of business, you have to test every day. Because one- or two-day labs can mean somebody can be spreading the virus and you don't know.

SEANA SMITH: Doctor, we don't have-- it doesn't seem like we have the capacity here to be testing as often. What needs to be done in order to get the testing up to the standards that it should be here nine or 10 months into the pandemic?

WILLIAM YATES: Well, I guess just like the government is spending a lot of money on procuring the vaccine, the same amount of money needs to be spent with testing. There are tests now that are very good and very accurate. So we have the test. It's just applying the test. Of course, the vaccine, we haven't discussed that. But that's a big denominator in there, as well. But money has to be infused to make sure that the tests are adequately available. We have the tests. You could be tested every day and you wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, don't let anybody with a temperature-- I mean, a fever-- come into your place of business or school. And that's kind of what our group does at Yates Protect. We're specialists in non-contact infrared scanning. When you do all those things, that's all you can do really.

ADAM SHAPIRO: This thing about temperature checks, because anywhere you go here in New York, like other places, you get temperature check. How much of an accurate predictor and precaution is that? Because you can be asymptomatic without a temperature, right?

WILLIAM YATES: Yes. That's a great question. So the easy answer to that is, first, we'll knock off all the people who are asymptomatic. That's about 40%, OK? So 40% of the people can actually go in, have a normal temperature, and have COVID. So we'll take those away. So then we take 60% of the people who are symptomatic. Of those people who are symptomatic, almost all of them throughout their illness will show elevation in temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

So will it catch everybody? No. But is it a step in the right direction? Will it make your place safer? Absolutely, yes. And they're very accurate, too. I'm not a fan of the ones that-- we call them the water gun type, where they invade your space and just put them on your wrist. We're more in favor of more sensitive, more accurate equipment than that.