LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Six months after coronavirus emerged from China, the world has changed drastically, but USC Keck School of Medicine’s Dr. Raj Dasgupta is optimistic that humans are winning the war against the disease.

The novel coronavirus sent the world into a tailspin this year, shutting down major cities around the world and much of the United States to prevent a catastrophic rise in infection that might overwhelm hospitals. Then, as businesses began to reopen in the United States, protests erupted across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being held by the neck for more than eight minutes under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.

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In spite of all that, Dr. Dasgupta says the current outlook from a public health standpoint is very different how things looked even three months prior, in spite of infections being on the rise in several states.

“We are winning this fight because of the social distancing, improved hygiene,” he said. “No one wants to take steps backwards, but if we do, I’m going to be positive. We’re going to be prepared for that second spike.”

Even if infections rise, testing for COVID-19 is more widely available and more is known about the disease.

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“We now know that COVID-19 is not just a disease of the lungs, but affects every single organ of the body, and it can be a big mimicker of many diseases,” Dr. Dasgupta said.

And more importantly, there are now promising treatments that were not available at the start of the pandemic.

“So whether we talk about remdesivir or convalescent plasma, we as a country will be better prepared if we have that spike,” he said.

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However, Dr. Dasgupta said people should still remain vigilant by taking the proper precautions, like wearing masks properly, observing social distancing guidelines and washing hands thoroughly.