President Donald Trump suggested he may change the current federal guidelines on social distancing because he thinks it may help the economy, The Washington Post reports.
“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump said in an all-caps tweet on Sunday. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
The White House announced last week that it is initiating a 15-day period to “slow the spread” of the coronavirus.
The tweet appears to have come in response to a Fox News segment on which a host questioned whether it was worth it to take live-saving measures at the expense of the economy.
If his tweet was not clear, he followed it up with numerous retweets demanding shuttered businesses reopen.
Surgeon General says things will get worse:
Trump’s comments came after Surgeon General Jerome Adams said things would get worse in the near future.
“I want America to understand: This week, it’s going to get bad,” Adams told NBC News. “We really, really need everyone to stay at home. … There are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that getting rid of social distancing measures would cost lives.
“If you don’t slow this thing down, it will sacrifice a lot more on the other end of the equation, and we’ve got to think about the human cost here,” he said, adding that the country faces “a health-care system that can’t function at all” if coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Conservatives reject health warnings:
Numerous lawmakers and pundits on the right have made similar calls as Trump.
A Wall Street Journal editorial argued that the country “urgently needs a pandemic strategy that is more economically and socially sustainable than the current national lockdown.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, echoed those comments to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"We don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways, he said, adding that "getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said his comments were “way out.”
"When you have something that is new and it's emerging and you really can't predict totally the impact it's going to have, and you take a look at what's gone on in China and you see what's going on right now — right now — in Italy, and what's happening in New York City, I don't think with any moral conscience you could say 'Why don't we just let it rip and happen and let X percent of the people die," Fauci said.