‘Reckless’: Trump Says He Plans To Keep The Shutdown Short As 158 Million Americans Told To Stay Home
President Donald Trump suggested that the economic shutdown meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus was incompatible with what the country was built for — business — and would not be extended.
“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” Trump said during an almost two-hour briefing on Monday. “America will again and soon be open for business.”
On Monday, Washington, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Oregon became the latest states to order more people to stay home. The orders will affect more than 158 million Americans in 16 states.
Trump’s words are reckless and immoral, New York City resident Wilhelmina Perry said in an email to Moguldom.
“I am an 85-year-old Black woman with preconditioned health issues that put me at risk for contracting and dying of the coronavirus,” Perry wrote. “President Trump’s proposed desire to remove the ‘in-house’ restrictions places me and other seniors at great risk.
“If we are encouraged to move freely without knowing who may be infected, it is the aged population who is at most risk. We cannot allow seniors, especially those of us who are with limited resources, to become the disposable population to save the economy. It is unjust and immoral to make such a choice.”
Trump did not initially give a timeline for when he believes the shutdown should end and normal economic activity could resume, but he said on Monday that it would be less than months.
“I’m not looking at months, I can tell you right now,” Trump said, in what appeared to be an attempt to create divisions between himself and the health experts.
“If it were up to the doctors, they’d say let’s shut down the entire world,” Trump said. “This could create a much bigger problem than the problem that you started out with.”
On Tuesday, Trump firmed up his anti-shutdown timeline, saying he wants the country “opened” by Easter (April 12, 2020) despite warnings from public health experts about the coronavirus outbreak.
Public health experts sounded the alarms over Trump’s suggestion that some parts of the country could soon ease offthe shutdown and dramatic measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
“That is exactly the wrong thing to do,” wrote Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan, in an email to NPR. “Cases would go up and so would deaths…we now need to stay the course!”
Some business leaders say that the shutdown restrictions are too severe and are doing too much damage to the economy and society.
Health experts argue that the shutdowns are painful but if anything, they don’t go far enough to slow the virus. Cities need time to ramp up testing and prepare hospitals for a tsunami of sick people. Many people could die, especially the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, they say.
“This is a deadly epidemic and will be painful for all to keep the distancing up,” Barry Bloom of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health wrote NPR in an email. “But we would be wiping out a big swath of people of all ages.”
A World Health Organization official said that the U.S. has the potential to become the new epicenter of the global crisis, Washington Post reported. The infection rate in New York, the U.S. epicenter — is doubling every three days, with confirmed cases exceeding 25,000 and 49,000-plus cases confirmed around the country.
Trump suggested that the shutdown response to the virus may have been overblown. He compared it to deaths from flu and car crashes, which may exceed the coronavirus fatalities, but don’t shut down the country.
“We have a very active flu season, more active than most,” Trump said, according to the New York Times. “It’s looking like it’s heading to 50,000 or more deaths — not cases, 50,000 deaths. Which is — that’s a lot. And you look at automobile accidents, which are far greater than any numbers we’re talking about. That doesn’t mean we’re going to tell everybody, ‘No more driving of cars.’ So we have to do things to get our country open.”
So how many people could be infected from coronavirus? One person could end up infecting 59,000 in a snowball effect, according to an intensive-care expert. A person with the flu will infect an average of 1.3 people, said Prof. Hugh Montgomery, director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London. If there are 10 cycles of that interaction, there will be 14 cases of the flu, he calculated.
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The coronavirus is about three times more infectious than the flu, he said.
If one person with coronavirus infects three people, and those three infect three more for 10 cycles, there will be 59,000 infections.
“If you are irresponsible enough to think that you don’t mind if you get the flu, remember it’s not about you, it’s about everybody else,” Montgomery said.
COVID-19 is an American catastrophe, a slow-motion disaster only now coming into view, The Atlantic reported. “When its true proportions have been measured, it will make the early government response look even more outrageous than it already seems. What’s happening here, in this country, was avoidable. Nearly every flaw in America’s response to the virus has one source: America did not test enough people for COVID-19.”