President Donald Trump sent the nation a message Monday encouraging Americans to hold on a little longer as restrictions in every part of life began to take hold.
The Trump administration, at the urging of public health experts, has urged Americans to avoid their usual routines — from work to entertainment — to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The goal of the strategy has been to avoid the kind of massive spike seen in Italy, and also to buy time for scientists to develop drug regimens that can ameliorate the worst of the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
To that end, the president and his coronavirus task force have often spoken of a 15-day period of restrictions.
Trump brought that timeframe into new relief Monday with a tweet that said, in all caps, “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!”
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
The tweet replicates a comment Trump made Sunday, according to Bloomberg.
“We’ll get a pretty good idea what we’re doing” when the 15-day period ends March 31, he said Sunday. “You know there will be a point at which we say: ‘We’re back in business, let’s go.'”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted in an interview with Science that the imposition of restrictions is a balancing act.
“There is a discussion and a delicate balance about what’s the overall impact of shutting everything down completely for an indefinite period of time. So there’s a compromise. If you knock down the economy completely and disrupt infrastructure, you may be causing health issues, unintended consequences, for people who need to be able to get to places and can’t,” he said.
Fauci said that the nation must focus on fighting the virus.
“I’ve emphasized very emphatically at every press conference, that everybody in the country, at a minimum, should be following the fundamental guidelines. Elderly, stay out of society in self-isolation. Don’t go to work if you don’t have to. Yada yada yada. No bars, no restaurants, no nothing. Only essential services. When you get a place like New York or Washington or California, you have got to ratchet it up,” he said.
However, Fauci said, medical decisions are not made in a vacuum.
“But it is felt — and it isn’t me only speaking, it’s a bunch of people who make the decisions — that if you lock down everything now, you’re going to crash the whole society,” he said.
During the interview, Fauci was asked about his disagreements with Trump.
“[T]o his credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens. He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say,” Fauci said, adding, “Well, I don’t disagree in the substance. It is expressed in a way that I would not express it, because it could lead to some misunderstanding about what the facts are about a given subject.
On Saturday, Trump used a media briefing to send a message to American workers uncertain over the future, according to a White House media pool report.
“Well, what they do right now is keep receiving their paycheck, and hopefully their companies are going to be in a very strong position. We want to keep everything together because we think we’re going to have a tremendous bounce back,” Trump said.
“So we want them to keep their jobs, stay where you are, and we’ll see what happens. Now, if they don’t, we have unemployment, we have checks, we have a lot of things happening, a lot of very positive things,” Trump said.
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