Biden virus official says nationwide lockdown ‘a measure of last resort’

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Dr. Vivek Murthy says a lockdown would look much different from the beginning of the global pandemic.

A top advisor to President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force says a national lockdown would be a “measure of last resort.” 

Dr. Vivek Murthy is a former U.S. surgeon general who is leading the transition team’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus, which is surging across the country. 

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, who is leading the President-elect Biden transition team’s efforts to combat COVID-19, says a national lockdown would be a “measure of last resort.” (Photo by DNCC via Getty Images)

The U.S. reported 166,555 new cases on Saturday, which is the second-highest daily number of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The Trump administration has issued no new directives related to the virus as President Donald Trump spent the weekend continuing to put forth baseless claims that the election was stolen from him. 

Murthy was interviewed by Fox News Sunday, on which he said a national lockdown would look different from the beginning of the global pandemic, which has taken the lives of more than 266,000 Americans. 

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“In the spring, we didn’t know a lot about COVID; we responded, in a sense, with an on-off switch,” Murthy said. “We just shut things down because we didn’t know exactly how this was spreading and where it was spreading, but we learned a lot more since then.”

“We are not in support of a nationwide lockdown,” Biden advisor Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery and health policy at Harvard, told ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “You can have targeted measures building on mask-wearing to include widespread testing, can include dialing up and down capacity restrictions, and those measures need to happen on a more localized basis.”

Read More: 2nd coronavirus vaccine shows early success in US tests

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan reinstated stricter coronavirus-related restrictions this weekend. High school and college classes are moving to strictly online until at least Dec. 8. The governor is also recommending that companies move to work-from-home as much as possible. Indoor dining and group fitness classes have also been shuttered, as have entertainment spaces like theaters, stadiums and bowling alleys. 

Scott Atlas, the virus skeptic who is a part of the Trump coronavirus task force, maintained on Twitter that Michiganders should “rise up” against the measures. “The only way this stops is if people rise up,” Atlas tweeted. “You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”

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Hours later, Atlas tweeted: “Hey. I NEVER was talking at all about violence. People vote, people peacefully protest. NEVER would I endorse or incite violence. NEVER!!”

Whitmer was the target of an alleged domestic terror kidnapping plot related to virus restriction orders this summer. 

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