“We may be sick and tired of staying home, but the virus is not tired of making us sick,” Frieden told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday.
Frieden is currently the CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of global public health organization Vital Strategies.
The uptick in the number of cases in parts of the US are not the result of the country doing more testing, as some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued. Instead, the numbers are going up because there is more disease and it is spreading, Frieden said.
“The US response is just lagging,” Frieden said. “We’re not doing what we need to do to keep physically distant. We are not across the country scaling up contact tracing as effectively as needed so we can prevent cases into exploding into clusters and outbreaks.”
Frieden compared the US' response to South Korea’s.
“Facts don’t lie,” Frieden said. “There are 120,000 dead Americans from this virus. There are, at last count, 270 who died from it in South Korea.”
According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, South Korea has reported 281 coronavirus deaths while the US has seen more than 121,000.
Countries around the world have lower rates of infection because they are better at testing, tracing and isolating people who are sick, Frieden said. He believes there needs to be a better national response in the US.
In the absence of an adequate national response, there is something individuals can do to keep case numbers down, he said.
“Remember the three W’s. Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance,” Frieden said. “You do these three things, we can keep the virus at bay.”