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Former Washington Journalist
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While the nation’s governors appear to be committed to the social distancing and lockdowns on a long-term basis necessary to try to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump appears to be weakening in his resolve–at least if a Monday tweet is to be believed.
There have been more than 350,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 15,000.
In the United States, 33,404 have been sickened with a total of 400 deaths reported, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“This is not a short-term situation. This is not a long weekend. This is not a week. The timeline–nobody can tell you–depends on how we handle it,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). “But 40 percent, up to 80 percent, of the population will wind up getting this virus, all we’re trying to do is slow the spread. But it will spread. It is that contagious. Again, that’s nothing to panic over. You saw the numbers. Unless you’re older with an underlying illness, etc, it’s something that you’re going to resolve but it will work its way through society.
“We’ll manage at capacity rate. But it’s going to be four months, six months, nine months, you look at China, once they really change the trajectory, which we have not done yet, eight months, we’re in that range,” Cuomo added. “Nobody has a crystal ball.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) expressed frustration that social distancing is not always being enforced, such as in the case of crowds still visiting the blooming cherry blossoms in neighboring Washington DC.
“Well, so in addition to meeting with all of the governors, we have been meeting as a region with the governor of Virginia, with the mayor of D.C. We talked on Friday. We’re going to be talking again, I believe, tomorrow,” Hogan said. “We’re all taking actions and trying to work together, but yeah, the social distancing is not being enforced and it’s a little crazy to see the kind of crowds at the cherry blossoms. People have to listen. There are people that are out there, and you are endangering not only yourselves but your fellow citizens by not listening to these warnings. We have been getting pretty tough out here in Maryland on folks, limiting people to groups of 10.
“We were chastising all these spring breakers who came back from partying in Florida and told them they need to self-quarantine for 14 days otherwise they’re risking the lives of their parents and grandparents and friends,” Hogan added.
“People of all ages. Forty percent of our cases are under 40 years old. We had a 10-month-old, 5-year-old who have gotten this disease,” Hogan said. “People are kidding themselves if they think they should enjoy being out there, business as normal. We have get people off the streets and out of crowds.”
Meanwhile, Trump seemed to send a signal Monday that the social distancing should come to an end.
WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
Along with sinking stock markets, these business closings are playing havoc with the US economy. Congress is at work hammering out enormous $2 trillion economic rescue legislation.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said that such distancing measures may be “extreme,” but he argued that abandoning them will lead to greater losses of life.
“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,” de Blasio said during an appearance on CNN. He also said the country faces the prospect of “a health-care system that can’t function at all” if coronavirus cases continue to balloon.
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