U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to reopen the economy amid the severe epidemic situation could be harming people’s health to serve his political ends, incurring criticism from mainstream media outlets in the country.
For weeks the U.S. president has been calling for the reopening of the economy, although the COVID-19 epidemic is still plaguing the country. This has seen more and more Americans leaving their homes and at times forgetting to practice social distancing during gatherings.
According to a report issued by CNN on Thursday, the president has set a bad example for the country by neglecting efficient epidemic prevention measures and “ostentatiously moving around the country without a mask.”
The president also appears to be ignoring warnings to avoid large gatherings by planning a rally in Oklahoma next week and others in four states, which some fear may lead to a rise of COVID-19 cases in those regions.
Many other officials in the Trump administration also appear to be neglecting epidemic precautions in their work. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who is in charge of the White House COVID-19 task force, tweeted a photo of his campaign staff on Wednesday with none of the members wearing masks or keeping social distancing. But later, the vice president deleted the tweet.
Yet, the stay-at-home order proves to be an effective way in curbing the spread of the virus, according to the data posed by Andy Slavitt on Wednesday, who is a former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“Once we come back out, if we come back to exactly our old habits, it’s going to spread just as fast,” Slavitt said during an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
According to a Wednesday report by NBC, three weeks after the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey lifted the stay-at-home order, the state saw an alarming surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Data from the Arizona Department of Health Services shows that the number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 30,000 so far, with over 1,100 deaths recorded. Medical professionals are warning that there might be a lack of emergency room beds to handle the spike in new cases.
Critics attributed the surge to the reluctance of the Republican governor, who is setting a bad example by not wearing a mask in public.
They said that Arizona residents once took the coronavirus threat seriously, but have relaxed their vigilance and at times appearing to forget to keep social distancing and wear masks due to the behavior of the governor, which led to the surge in new cases.
The situation in other states is also severe. Since Memorial Day, more than a dozen U.S. states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, have recorded spikes in hospitalizations, according to data from CNN aggregated from the COVID-19 Tracking Project.
The action of the U.S. president as well as many governors implies that the country may have given up its efforts to curb the epidemic. People have to live with the fatal virus in order to reopen the economy and maintain social order.
But reopening the economy without enough epidemic prevention measures may lead to a horrible cost of lives.
Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute said during an interview with CNN on Wednesday, “It means that between 800 and 1,000 Americans are going to die every single day. We’re going to get another 100,000 deaths by September. So, that’s a catastrophic cost.”
The cost of reopening shows that the Trump administration still needs to make more preparations before reopening the economy. But this is an assertion that the president has been denying.
Even as the pandemic appears to worsen in North Carolina, he is still denouncing the Democratic governor of the state for his reluctance to host the Republican National Convention due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
The Trump administration is also suppressing the voices of public health officials and experts as they do not appear to save his political ends. As such, he has been preventing top medical advisers, including the government’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and another top coronavirus expert, Dr. Deborah Birx, from speaking at the presidential podium for days.
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