Two prominent medical experts are warning that President Donald Trump's stated desire to end social distancing measures as soon as next week will lead to a horrific humanitarian and economic disaster.
Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, and Ashish Jha, a professor of global health at Harvard University, write in The Atlantic that any attempt to prematurely end social distancing while the virus is still spreading exponentially will lead to a "catastrophically bad" result for the United States.
"The human cost would be devastating, and the economic toll from that devastation might be even steeper than what we’re seeing right now," they argue.
The two doctors then explain what the results might look like in gruesome detail.
"More people could die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in just a few months than have died in every single war this country has fought since its inception," they warn. "Such devastation would shut down our hospitals and the entire health-care system. Tens of thousands of doctors and nurses and other health-care professionals would likely get sick. The ripple effects on finances, and on human lives, would be massive and uncontrolled."
The doctors then recommend implementing a true national pause in economic activity for three weeks while the government ramps up production of both testing kits and needed medical supplies.
"If we soften our distancing measures too early, we risk making things worse," they conclude. "But if we are willing to do what is necessary, we can get the disease under control, get our economy moving again, and give Americans hope that we will hold the line until a solution finally becomes available."