More than 150 scientists, medical experts, nurses, teachers, and others in the United States have signed a letter urging political leaders to re-shut down the country and start lockdown efforts from scratch in an effort to contain the deadly coronavirus that continues to wreak havoc on the nation.
“The best thing for the nation is not to reopen as quickly as possible, it’s to save as many lives as possible,” they wrote in the document sent out on Thursday to the Trump administration and leading members of Congress and state governors. The letter goes on to state, “Right now, we are on a path to lose more than 200,000 American lives by November 1st. Yet, in many states people can drink in bars, get a haircut, eat inside a restaurant, get a tattoo, get a massage, and do myriad other normal, pleasant, but non-essential activities.”
Their pleas come as the United States has seen 4,028,741 cases of coronavirus and 144,072 deaths, according to John Hopkins University’s count.
The document states that all non-essential businesses should be closed to the public, with restaurants only offering carryout. It also suggests that people only leave their homes to receive essential items such as food, medicine or to get fresh air and exercise. Nonetheless, masks should be mandatory in all outings.
“If you don’t take these actions, the consequences will be measured in widespread suffering and death,” the letter warned.
“Our decision-makers need to hit the reset button,” said Matt Wellington, the public health campaigns director for the advocacy group U.S. PIRG, who assisted with drafting the letter.
The letter also laid out protocols that health experts have deemed necessary in order to reopen the economy and the country safely.
Such protocols include adequate daily testing to screen everyone with flu-like symptoms, a workforce of contact tracers large enough to track all current cases, and more personal protective equipment to keep essential workers safe from the virus.
According to statisticians from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Covid-19 “will end up as a Top 10 leading cause of death” this year, they predicted in an email to CNN on Thursday.