Dr. Rishi Desai appeared on Fox News and had some harsh words about the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. You can watch the video of his appearance later in this article.
Desai is an infectious-disease physician and specialist who is the chief medical officer at Osmosis. Dr. Desai appeared on Martha MacCallum’s show on Fox to talk about coronavirus. She opened up the interview by saying that he was an infectious disease specialist who spent years at the CDC investigating outbreaks. She said he argues for a federally mandated national lockdown.
That’s something Bill Gates also advocates for, in addition to mass testing and a vaccine, MacCallum said. She then ran a clip from Gates saying five years ago that the country wasn’t ready for the next epidemic. She then introduced Desai. He started out by advocating for an immediate, and complete, national shutdown.
Here’s what you need to know:
Dr. Desai Advocated for a National Shutdown & Then Called the Government’s Coronavirus Response Weak
“The first thing is that we know this spreads person-to-person, you brought this up a few minutes ago,” Desai said on Fox News. “That means when we isolate ourselves in our homes there is really no chance for that to spread beyond the household, so think of that as your unit. The problem right now is it’s all voluntary; some states are doing it. Some are not. More and more states are doing it. I’ll tell you, I’m in Alameda County. We’re the first county in the nation to do this lockdown. There’s plenty of people still walking around outside, and hanging out at the park… It’s all voluntary.”
Desai warned: “As long as it continues to be voluntary, not mandated, we will continue to see the cases rise. That’s what people mean by flatten the curve.”
He said a national shutdown would provide immediate results.
“Let me tell you something that you and your viewers might find inspiring,” he said. “Which is that if we did do this shutdown. If we shut down rail and airlines. And did it the way I’m suggesting and really kind of policed it making sure one squad car is driving around to make sure everyone is in their homes, we would see a drop off in cases within two weeks. Within two weeks, the number of cases would start to fall. And the entire country would breathe a sigh of relief. But we’re not doing that. We’re just seeing the cases continue to rise exponentially. We’re all kind of panicking about the Dow Jones. The truth is if we just did this for a consistent period of time, for a couple of weeks, you’d see the number of cases fall off and continue to go down.”
He stressed: “This is a two-week solution; we could do this. And continue it after that; of course, you don’t want to put the pressure off the moment when you start winning the fight. We can do this and it has to happen right away.”
MacCallum then said Dr. Desai recommends mass testing.
He said, “Yeah, they’re working on it. They should have been working on this for months. The fact is we knew about this from the WHO when, December 31, 2019. So last year we knew about this. We knew coronavirus was coming. We knew it was a respiratory disease; we knew it was person-to-person.”
He then unleashed criticism of the U.S. government’s response under the Trump administration (although he didn’t mention the president by name), saying, “Why is it that this week the FDA finally approved this new Abbott lab testing, which by the way is one test at a time. It’s a great test, but it’s one test at a time. It’s different than the labs that are doing mass testing, right. So this is a wonderful, don’t get me wrong; it’s one test for 15 minutes. That’s wonderful. But it’s not the same volume that you really need. This is better for outpatient clinics and things like that.”
Concluded Deshai: “We needed this months ago. You look at Korea. South Korea and the U.S. had their first official confirmed case on the same date. January 19. Since January 19, you look at what South Korea did and what we did. Their population is one sixth of ours. Look at the cases they have. Look at the mortality they have. It’s a trifle compared to what we’re dealing with right now. Because we’ve had a very weak response and they had a strong response.”
If you’re interested in Rishi Desai’s views on coronavirus, Osmosis also has a YouTube channel where it posts information from him, such as:
You can find Desai’s LinkedIn page here. The opening reads, “Strategy, partnerships, and operations professional with a strong clinical and public health background and years of experience in academic, government, consulting, and start-up environments. Passionate about technology-enabled innovation in the life science industries. An excellent public facing communicator with experience working with partners to design and scale online platforms. Strategic problem-solver, savvy in driving change in complex stakeholder environments and well versed in international project management.”
Desai’s page says he’s worked at Osmosis as its chief Medical Officer in Berkeley, California for four years.
Before that, he was in pediatric infectious disease for Stanford University School of Medicine for seven years. He was head of the Khan Academy of Medicine in Mountain View, California for three years. He worked as an epidemic intelligence officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for two years from July 2010 to June 2012, where he worked on rotavirus, among other things.
Desai was a pediatric infectious disease fellow at the University of Southern California. He was a pediatric resident at Boston Children’s Hospital. He graduated with a doctor of medicine from the University of California San Francisco in 2004. Desai has a master’s in public health and epidemiology from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and immunology. He’s also worked as a camp counselor.
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