Experts fear ‘national naivete’ on Covid-19 optimism

Experts fear ‘national naivete’ on Covid-19 optimism

The Hill reports:

After an unprecedented month of strict social distancing and an economic lockdown that has cost tens of millions of jobs and untold billions in damage, Americans saw the faintest glimmers of hope last week that the worst of the coronavirus crisis may be passing.

Modelers at the University of Washington downgraded their projections of the number of people who would die. Some states closed field hospitals they never had to use. Major professional sports leagues began considering how to play abbreviated seasons. President Trump promised businesses would reopen soon, with his characteristic bravado.

“I think we’re going to open up strong. I think we’re going to open up very successfully, and, I’d like to say, even more successfully than before,” Trump said Thursday.

On Friday, Trump said he would listen to public health experts if they said it was too early to reopen the country — though he added he would also consider the other side of the argument. His comments came hours after U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Fox News that “most of the country will not” be able to open for business May 1.

Public health officials and experts say the optimistic projections of an America that gets back to work by the beginning of May, or even later in the summer, are more than misplaced. Rushing back to something approaching normal, they fear, would risk a second wave of the virus, one that would create a new tsunami of cases, deaths and economic damage.

It is not realistic to think that American society will get back to normal, the experts said, until a coronavirus vaccine has been developed, tested and administered to billions of people across the globe.

“There is a disconnect. It’s sort of a national naïveté about what the next 18 months means, maybe a sort of willful refusal to deal with the brutal facts,” said Prabhjot Singh, a physician and health systems expert at the Mount Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine. “A real leader would help the nation do this. That’s not where we are right now.” [Continue reading…]

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