Millions of Americans could die if Trump lifts coronavirus restrictions, warns Johns Hopkins expert
COVID-19 would spread widely, rapidly, could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country, says Dr Tom Inglesby, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security director
If President Donald Trump lifts restrictions put in place to defeat the coronavirus pandemic, the country might suffer a heavy blow where millions could die, warns an expert from Johns Hopkins. "Anyone advising the end of social distancing now needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that. COVID would spread widely, rapidly, could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country," Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tweeted.
His comments come in the wake of Trump suggesting that he would open up the country for business. "We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem," Trump told reporters at a briefing of the coronavirus task force. “We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems," he added. By soon, he meant, weeks. As of March 24, the virus has sickened more than 46,000 people and killed 593 people in the country.
Businesses are feeling the pinch due to the restrictions. “Life is fragile and economies are fragile," Trump said, insisting he could protect both.
Trump's statements contradict those of public health experts, who have been stressing on social distancing as one of the effective measures to contain the pandemic. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has encouraged staying at home and social distancing -- which include postponing or canceling mass gatherings like sporting events, concerts, or religious gatherings -- to limit the spread of the disease.
"Social distancing does two things. First, by reducing your exposure to other people, it can reduce your risk of disease. Second, it can help to slow down an outbreak in a population," Dr. Brian Labus, from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, told MEA WorldWide (MEAWW).
According to Dr. Labus, social distancing could slow down an outbreak, giving health authorities a better chance to treat everyone without overwhelming the medical system. What is worse, a study predicted that if the US were to witness a Wuhan-scale outbreak, the hospitals would be too overwhelmed to handle the crisis since only 35% of hospital beds are available daily.
Fauci on Trump
Trump has contradicted public health experts before. Recently, he announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the common malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that there is no proof that the drug is effective and it needs to be evaluated in larger trials. "We will collect that data and make the absolute right decisions based upon those data about the safety and efficacy of the treatments,” FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, said during a press briefing.
In an interview with Science magazine, Dr. Fauci said that he can't jump in front of the microphone to stop Trump from speaking at daily White House briefings on the coronavirus outbreak.
He, however, added that Trump listens to him despite differences of opinion between then on some things “He goes his way. He has his style,” Dr. Fauci, told Science. “But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say,” he added.