Former Center for Disease Control chief Dr. Thomas R. Frieden told the New York Times that he’s concerned leaders are making decisions based on the upcoming election.
“We’re not reopening based on science,” said Dr. Frieden. “We’re reopening based on politics, ideology and public pressure. And I think it’s going to end badly.”
Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment protection as businesses large and small shut down in the coronavirus crisis. While some states are following the CDC guidelines for reopening, President Donald Trump has ranted that states following those guidelines are doing so to hurt his reelection.
“The reopenings will proceed nonetheless. The question now, scientists say, is whether the nation can minimize the damage by adopting new tactics,” said the Times.
If Americans are all willing to wear masks, there stands to be a greater possibility of stopping the transmission as reopening continues. But as the United States advocates reopening, the city of Wuhan, China, believed to be the epicenter of has seen a resurgence of the virus as they reopen. It doesn’t bode well for the U.S. that never fully shutdown the way Wuhan did.
“But while it may still be possible to blunt the effect of the reopenings, the nation is finding even this goal difficult,” said the Times. “And the lockdowns have become entwined in partisan politics, with some libertarian extremists, gun-rights advocates and antivaccine activists painting them as an infringement of personal freedoms.”
Some epidemiological models are showing that the United States could end up with closer to 240,000 fatalities, which the coronavirus task force predicted back in March before swapping out more friendly and optimistic predictions.