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The pushback is increasing across the United States over Donald Trump’s desire to lift the extreme lockdowns and social distancing that have been in place in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump said this week that he wants the nation to get back to work by Easter, despite signs that the pandemic continues to spread unabated, citing concerns for the nose dive that the US economy is taking as a result of the pandemic.
There have been more than 480,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 22,000.
In the United States, 68,802 have been reported sickened, with 1,037 reported deaths, according to the most recent figures.
“Well, I think that what the president has been saying about getting back at Easter time is both dangerous and immoral,” said Rep. Donna Shalala (R-Fla), who served as secretary of health and human services during the Clinton administration. “And let me say that I know of no — he defies ethical standards. No American believes that we should choose the economy over human life.
“And that’s what’s at stake here. And the president is putting human life at risk because he wants the economy to get back and he simply — it’s literally immoral for him to do that,” she added.
The former mayor of New Orleans, La., echoed those thoughts.
“Listen, Easter is a blessed day for so many people in the world, but it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to gather people in God’s name if, in fact, that’s going to hurt us more,” said Mitch Landrieu, who also once served as lieutenant governor of Louisiana. “I mean, God gave us a brain for a reason, and I think that we really have to think about doing three things: one, keeping people away from each other, that is the most important thing; secondly, the recovery package to help the businesses stand up, which Congress passed last night, thank goodness; and third, getting the supplies down to the doctors, especially respirators, so they can care for the people who are going to be sick.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the CNN medical correspondent, said that the medical data just don’t support Trump’s desire.
“Well, look, I think that it’s pretty clear that the numbers are increasing. And the pace at which they’re increasing is also going up. So, you know, it’s kind of like an issue where you not only have the numbers of people who are infected, but the inertia around this outbreak in the United States is also increasing, which is why I think the World Health Organization is concerned this could become the next epicenter,” said Dr Gupta.
“As Dr. Fauci has said, I think every public health official I have talked to, both on and off the record, we want to continuously look at the data, but the data is making it pretty clear, Jim, to answer your question, that it’s going to be several weeks, probably, before we actually are in a position to really start dialing it back,” Dr Gupta said in an on-air report, referring to Anthony Fauci, who is a member of Trump’s federal coronavirus task force. “It is possible that we start to peak within the next few weeks, but that’s maybe not a good thing because you want to actually have this peak come more slowly so you don’t overwhelm the medical system.
“So it’s really still about sort of flattening that curve and delaying that peak as long as possible. The data doesn’t suggest that we’re going to be ready by Easter if you look at it that way,” Gupta added.
More than all that, the late night comedians have turned Trump’s Easter deadline into a ghoulish sort of schtick in their shows.
“We’re now in an extremely dangerous moment where a reckless ruling class and a self-absorbed president are trying to prematurely end the fight against a dangerous pandemic because their stock portfolios are taking a hit. This is sociopathic governance. If you were evaluating the mental competence of our president, you definitely wouldn’t be able to say he’s in… ” Seth Meyers said, before cutting away to a clip of Trump saying:
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