“You can’t just come in and say let’s close up the USA,” Trump said, again falsely stating coronavirus is no worse than flu.
The president's comments could get people killed, and so could premature lifting of lockdown orders, say public health experts.
Dr. Keith Martin, who heads the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, told a New York Times reporter that if restrictions are lifted too soon, “President Trump will have blood on his hands.”
From reporting by Annie Karni and Donald G. McNeil Jr. at the New York Times:
But if people are told they can head back to work, commuting by bus or subway while thousands of new infections are confirmed each day, “the virus will surge, many will fall ill and there will be more deaths,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive medicine expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Amir Attaran, a professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa, was even more pessimistic. “Nobody voted in Donald Trump thinking he would become a ‘one-man death panel’ empowered to dispense with American lives like cannon fodder,” he said. “It would be political suicide for him and murder for many others.” (...)
“The lesson from China is that aggressive measures to reduce the spread of the virus, continued for two months, have led to a reduction in new cases,” said Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, the acting director of the University of Washington MetaCenter for Pandemic Disease Preparedness. Countries like Italy, which took more incremental approaches to containment, he said, fared far worse. “Things are going to get worse before they get better,” Dr. Rabinowitz said. “This is no time to be planning to relax the U.S. social distancing measures.”
Dr. Keith Martin, a physician who heads the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, said simply that if restrictions were lifted prematurely, “President Trump will have blood on his hands.”