Harvard Global Health Institute director: 'My biggest hope is that we overreact' to coronavirus

The director of Harvard University's Global Health Institute told Fox News Monday that the U.S. is not where it should be in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but added that a top Trump administration health official is correct in urging an overreaction to the spread.

"We are in a really tight spot in this country," Dr. Ashish Jha told "Bill Hemmer Reports," adding: "We are really behind the eight-ball on this infection. It is spreading across communities in the United States."

Jha also said that Americans must remember that the mortality rate for coronavirus is "10 to 20" times worse than the flu.

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"Dr. Tony Fauci is completely right: My biggest hope is that we overreact. My biggest fear is that we underreact. The cost of overreaction is serious economic consequences, but the cost of underreaction will be measured in human lives," said Jha, referring to the head of the Nationa Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has been front and center of the government's coronavirus response.

"What’s really clear from the data is that if we do nothing, American hospitals are going to get overwhelmed," Jha said. "They are not going to have enough beds, not enough doctors to take care of people, so hospitals have to get very aggressive in opening up beds and people have to be very aggressive about avoiding getting sick and avoiding contact with others."

Jha added that South Korea had taken the proper approach to the virus by testing large numbers of people, even though the tests came out around 96 percent negative, according to Hemmer.

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According to Jha, the key to defeating the virus is to test many people so that there is a good idea of who needs to be quarantined and who is safe from the contagion.

The doctor also praised the advent of "drive-thru" testing sites, calling it a quintessentially "American approach" to a problem.