Twenty states are not shut down even as the Coronavirus races across the country.
President Trump must act immediately to shut down all bars, restaurants, beaches, hair salons and ban all non-non-essential travel in all fifty states.
The epidemiological data is convincing. The New York Times reports that Kinsa Health, a national company that follows the body temperatures of one million Americans to whom it has distributed internet-connected thermometers, showed a distinct slowing of virus transmission where state lockdowns were in force.
Kinsa is testing 162,000 people daily for body temperature. (The first indication of possible infection is elevated body temperature, followed by a positive test result, and, perhaps, hospitalization. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/health/coronavirus-restrictions-fevers.html).
The political impact of the epidemic will be enormous.
President Trump acted decisively in stopping travel from China at the end of January, but his rhetoric didn’t match his actions and left the impression of skepticism about the severity of the virus. He recovered his footing shortly thereafter and won broad approval by his guidelines and advocacy of tough social separation. Then, he wavered raising the hope that we could reopen by Easter. This mistake, from which he retreated rapidly, raised again the specter of a president who didn’t take the epidemic seriously.
Now he needs to be seen as being in the lead on this issue. He suffers by comparison with Cuomo. He’s running against Biden but his image is running against Cuomo, who seems to be the model of how a president should act.
A bold national shutdown would monopolize all the attention and put him again in the lead on the issue. As for the economy, the sooner we close down, the sooner we can reopen. If some states refuse, he should browbeat their governors over the phone and make them close.
In Florida, for example, with over 6,000 people who have tested positive, the Governor has left the state’s beaches open apart from Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach counties. This is totally unacceptable.
Also, given the clinical evidence of the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin — both approved by FDA for off label use — the government should distribute the med to as many Americans as possible. Millions of doses have been made available by Pharma companies. Whether the drugs are fully effective as a prophylactic or curative or somewhat less so, it would vastly relieve people and be a demonstrable step to stop the virus.
Eventually, this damnable virus will be brought under control. The human question is: After how much suffering and loss of life? The economic question is: After what damage to our personal finances? And the political question is: After what presidential action?
Will the president be seen as having been reluctantly dragged along or as having led the way?
Not only will this bold action, if taken immediately win him re-election, it will earn him a place in history.
Inevitably, of course, all states will close and the meds will be made available but Trump must take the lead.