“Stay-at-home is a blunt instrument,” said Farshad Fani Marvasti, director of public health at Arizona State University. “But when you’re leading the world in new cases and things don’t seem to be getting better, you may have to use that blunt instrument.”

Studies have found that orders that closed nonessential businesses and forbid nonessential travel or gatherings prevented millions of coronavirus cases nationwide when they were imposed this spring. Researchers have also found such orders could have saved tens of thousands of lives had they been implemented earlier…

At the Harvard Global Health Institute, with which Tsai is affiliated, researchers recently put together a national tracker to assess the severity of the outbreak in all 50 states.

As of Thursday, 15 of them were in a state of “accelerated spread,” meaning that stay-at-home orders should at least be considered, along with aggressive testing and tracing programs.

Another five – Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia – were flashing red. In those states, the outbreaks are so advanced that researchers say stay-at-home is no longer optional. It should be mandatory.