The President believes that the United States should be back to normal by April 12, but few medical experts have faith in his proposed timeline.
In the midst of one of the worst public health crises the world has seen in the recent past, citizens of all nations are looking for strong and effective leadership. This means they definitely should not look to the United States' White House. Instead of offering realistic and meaningful advice, policy, and guidance, it appears that all President Donald Trump has to offer is a pair of rose-tinted glasses. During a Fox News town hall held earlier this week on Tuesday, the President stated that he wanted the country to be "raring to go" by Easter, CNN reports. Unfortunately, our public health institutions are far from even getting close to the starting line.
Speaking during the town hall, President Trump affirmed that he was eager to see the whole nation return to normalcy by Easter, which falls on April 12 this year. This gives all 50 states just a little bit over two weeks to stiffen up their hospitals and ensure shutdowns can end. However, medical experts largely agree that two weeks is not nearly enough time to recover from the deadly Coronavirus. It is also definitely not enough time to ensure that citizens do not further spread the virus. Despite this, Trump seemed ready to phase out his 15-day self-isolating guidelines when they expire. He stated, "I give it two weeks. I guess by Monday or Tuesday, it's about two weeks. We will assess at that time and give it more time if we need a little more time. We have to open this country up."
While the idea of opening our country back up would probably be great news for small business owners and those who have lost their jobs due to the shutdowns, it is not a good one. Trump himself said that various health experts on his task force did not agree with his assertions. Even Capitol Hill Republicans such as Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa and Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming are doubtful of the President's expected timelines. Representative Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, tweeted on Tuesday, "There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what's necessary to stop the virus."
If the possibility of opening the country back up in just over two weeks seems irresponsible to you too, it's probably because it is. The timeline wasn't developed by Trump's team of medical experts; he simply thought it was "a beautiful timeline," as he admitted to reporters during a daily press briefing. "I thought it was a beautiful time. A beautiful timeline," he stated. "We'll only do it if it's good. We'll do large sections of the country." Though he added that he would listen closely to recommendations from Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, two of the top medical experts currently on the White House Coronavirus taskforce, his timeline did not appear to be backed by any data whatsoever.
When reporters pressed him about whether there were scientific data to support his proposed timeline, President Trump responded, "It was based on a certain level of weeks from the time we started and it happened to arrive, we were thinking of terms of sooner. I'd love to see it come sooner." Thankfully, health officials are drafting real plans to mitigate the virus. A senior official has recommended a "rolling" plan. "The response to this outbreak is going to be rolling with increased mitigation, and then we'll see it back off, followed by another increase as the virus increases," they stated. "With that said, we have to be willing to tolerate some risk in order to mitigate the virus." As various state governments grapple with severe cases of community spread in combination with failing public health systems, now may not be the time to open the whole country back up.
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