In the past few days, President Donald Trump has made clear his desire to put a quick end to the practice of social distancing in order to combat the threat of coronavirus — a move that health experts agree is premature.
On Tuesday, however, Trump assuaged his message a bit, claiming that Americans could go back to work while still practicing the tenets of social distancing.
“Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly,” Trump tweeted out. “We can do two things together.”
Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2020
The “two things,” however, cannot feasibly work together. The idea of social distancing is that airborne pathogens become less likely to be passed person-to-person, including among a population of people who are not showing symptoms of the disease.
Trump added in his tweet a point he aimed to make over the weekend: that social distancing, in his view, was causing more harm than good, particularly for the economy.
“THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM!” Trump said.
Trump on Monday made similar complaints about social distancing and its effects on America’s economic health — the sole topic that Trump has consistently polled well on. “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” Trump said in a press briefing on that day. “This is not a country that was built for this.”
#WeAreID I want to recognize my colleagues at #EmoryID who are working hard 7 days a week fighting #COVID19US Do your part and #StayHome We need you to do that so we can #FlattenTheCurve pic.twitter.com/hKO3qiJ6eW
— Carlos del Rio (@CarlosdelRio7) March 21, 2020
While Trump continues to press for a shortened period of social distancing, health experts are saying the opposite needs to happen in order to give healthcare professionals the ability to treat patients infected with coronavirus without completely overwhelming the system to ruin.
“It is way too early to even consider rolling back any guidelines,” Harvard public health professor Howard Koh said to Politico. “With cases and deaths rising by the day, the country must double down, not lighten up, on social distancing and related measures.
Chris Walker is a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin, who focuses on news, politics, and analysis of world events. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, since 2005 Chris has reported on workers’ rights protests in Wisconsin, opined on four separate presidential elections and written on a number of other political subjects for a variety of national online publications.