Over 150 “health professionals,” in an open letter addressed to U.S. government leaders this week, called for reimplementing the coronavirus shutdown that devastated the economy and may have exacerbated domestic abuse, depression, suicides, and drug overdoses, among other problems.
“Tell the American people the truth about the virus, even when it’s hard. Take bold action to save lives — even when it means shutting down again,” the letter, disseminated Thursday by the by non-profit U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) demanded.
Left-wing activist and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader founded PIRG. The non-profit Fund for the Public Interest (FFPI), the PIRG’s fundraising and canvassing arm, has been described as the largest fundraiser for liberal causes.
The only way to help the economy is to wait to reopen until health officials suppress the virus and there is a vaccine available, the letter said.
Issued Thursday, the letter stressed that bending the curve is no longer enough.
“Until we find a way to boost testing and develop and distribute a vaccine, open or not, people will not be in the mood to participate,” the signees stated.
The health experts noted that the U.S. needs hundreds of thousands of additional contact tracers to detect all current cases and more personal protective equipment (PPE) to reopen safely after a second lockdown.
At the end of June, Adm. Brett Giroir from the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department indicated that the lockdown has allowed America to be in a better position in terms of mitigation strategies to deal with the surge.
Specifically, he noted that the U.S. has the PPE capacity and testing capabilities to “reverse these concerning trends if we work together.”
In the letter to U.S. leaders, the health experts urged government leaders to “hit the reset button,” “get our priorities straight,” “listen to experts,” and “shut it down and start over,” stressing, “we need your lead.”
“If you don’t take these actions, the consequences will be measured in widespread suffering and death,” it added.
The letter came after a new South Korean study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in mid-July found people are more likely to catch COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) inside their homes than from those outside the household.
Although the number of confirmed cases continues to increase, driven by the new hotspots of California, Texas, and Florida, the pace of the spike has slowed from bout 20 percent per week for the past month to a modest seven percent this week, Axios noted, suggesting the growth may have hit a plateau. The seven-day average of the new cases still remains high at over 65,000.
Moreover, Professor Nick Loman, of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, revealed that a new mutation of the coronavirus that has become the most prominent strain, is allowing the disease to spread more quickly, the New York Post noted on Wednesday.
However, health experts reportedly believe the mutation is not leading to an increased risk of death.
That may explain why the surge in cases in the United States is not translating into a significant increase in deaths. Currently, more people are contracting the disease without dying, potentially leading to a lower mortality rate.
Thursday’s letter added:
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.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the prominent member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, projected at the end of June that coronavirus cases could reach 100,000 per day absent any action to stem the intensified spread at the moment.
There is a lag of three weeks or more between infection detection and death, but the fatalities have not fully paralleled the smaller rise in daily deaths.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration argues that the initial shutdown allowed the government to acquire more PPE, medical devices, intensify testing, pinpoint hotspots, intensify work on a vaccine and therapeutics, help isolate the vulnerable, encourage residents to practice good hygiene, and even wear a mask.
Breitbart News has determined that at least 28 states and New York City have taken steps to pause or roll back their reopening efforts.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other experts have warned that the lockdowns, namely the associated depression, anxiety, isolation, and drug use, have fueled potentially lethal mental health issues like suicides and overdoses, among other things like domestic violence.