Trump wants US 'opened up' by Easter, despite experts' concerns
US President Donald Trump is optimistic that people could be back at work within three weeks. Others think that's a bad idea.
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Less than two weeks after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, US President Donald Trump says he hopes to restart the nation's economy by April 12. Countless schools and businesses have temporarily closed in several states and tens of millions of Americans have been asked to stay home in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"We're not slowing it, and it is accelerating on its own," Cuomo said.
As of Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported more than 44,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US.Though Trump appears optimistic that businesses can reopen in the US soon, some experts have expressed concern.
"I think it is an exceptionally bad idea," said Tara C. Smith, a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University. "We have not even been doing social distancing long enough to start seeing the results." Smith worries that we may start to see a decrease in cases a few weeks from now and that "'opening back up' by Easter might ... bring people back together over the holiday and restart those chains of transmission ... bringing us back to where we are today."
Smith said she agrees with the earlier suggestion of White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci that eight weeks is more appropriate.
Thomas Birkland, a professor of public policy at North Carolina State University, also expressed concern. "We don't appear to be likely to have the ability to test, isolate and treat a sufficient number of people by April 12 -- Easter Sunday -- to ensure that 'opening up' wouldn't just lead to more community spread of the virus," he said.
Economist Michael Walden, a colleague of Birkland's at North Carolina State, added that the next two to three weeks will be "crucial for understanding the virus and plotting its course."
"The optimistic view is that hopefully in three weeks, new cases would be on the decline and 'hotspots' in the nation could be identified and effectively isolated," Walden said. He explained that under this scenario, much of the country could go back to work, boosting production and employment. Walden said that the pessimistic scenario, on the other hand, is that people return to work before the virus is contained, leading to more infections and deaths.
"I'm not living in fear of COVID-19. What I'm living in fear of is what's happening to this country," said Patrick. "No one reached out to me and said, 'As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival, in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?' And if that's the exchange, I'm all in."
During a Facebook Live session shortly before Trump's comment on Fox News, Chris Anderson of TED asked
founder and philanthropist
about the notion of starting everything back up in a few weeks.
"There really is no middle ground," Gates said. "It's very tough to say to people, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies in the corner."
The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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