The coronavirus can be stopped, but only with harsh steps, experts say

China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have demonstrated that the coronavirus can be turned back with furious efforts. For the United States to repeat their successes will take major coordination and money from the country's leaders, and trust and cooperation from citizens.

China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have demonstrated that the coronavirus can be turned back with furious efforts. For the United States to repeat their successes will take major coordination and money from the country's leaders, and trust and cooperation from citizens. It will also require international partnerships in an interconnected world. The coronavirus most often infects clusters of family members, friends, and work colleagues, notes David L. Heymann, MD, who chairs an expert panel advising the World Health Organization on emergencies. "You can contain clusters," Heymann says. "You need to identify and stop discrete outbreaks, and then do rigorous contact tracing." Doing so takes intelligent, rapidly adaptive work by health officials, and near-total cooperation from citizens. Experts say Americans must be persuaded to stay home, and a system must be put in place to isolate the infected and care for them outside the home. Productions of masks and ventilators must be accelerated, and testing problems must be resolved. It is not clear if a nation so fundamentally committed to individual liberty and distrustful of government can learn to adapt to many of these measures. "The American way is to look for better outcomes through a voluntary system," says Luciana Borio, MD, who was director of medical and biodefense preparedness for the National Security Council before it was disbanded in 2018.