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Six months in, what's the state of the pandemic in the United States?

Two doctors with the Infectious Diseases Society of America discussed the pandemic.

TAMPA, Fla. — Now that we're six months into this pandemic, let's do a check-in. Experts have learned a lot over the last six months, but there are questions that will take time to answer. 

Dr. John Lynch and Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, members of the Board of Directors for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, held a discussion about what we know so far, what we're dealing with now and what questions still need to be answered. 

They say we've learned a lot since we found out this was a problem in December of 2019: how coronavirus is spread, where it's spread more easily, like bars, indoor activities or constrained workplaces. 

There are testing options available, and some things seem to help control the spread like social distancing and masks. 

But they say our trends are slowly reversing, not in the positive direction, with 27 states seeing a rise in cases and 200,000 deaths in the country. 

"There's also some modeling out more recently that suggests that by the end of the year we could be close to 300,000, and I don't think that's unfathomable give the progression of this pandemic. We'll also soon hit 7 million cases in the United States," says Dr. Marrazzo. 

They say the challenges we are facing include shortages of PPE in hospitals, shortages of testing kits and provider fatigue. Remember, front line workers in hospitals are still working. They continue to be exposed and are exhausted; and it's not over yet. 

But they say an enormous challenge is the issue of masking.

"So if I could turn the clock back, and wish I had one piece of data back in January, February, March, it would have been routine masking with standard medical masks, face covers, and similar," said Dr. Lynch. 

The doctors said there is still a lot to learn. 

Moving forward, the biggest questions are about a potential vaccine, its effectiveness and how it will be rolled out. But there are also questions about the long-term effects of this virus. Those questions may not be answered for months.

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