Trump’s Plan to Reopen the Economy Will Expand the Public Health and Economic Catastrophe

Statement of Dr. Michael Carome, Director, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group

Note: President Donald Trump on Thursday night unveiled his administration’s long-anticipated guidelines for reopening the American economy.

It’s absurd to even think about reopening businesses — including large venues such as sports arenas, movie theaters and restaurants — or allowing nonessential travel in the absence of a robust federal testing and tracing program for detecting all coronavirus infections.

On par with his administration’s disastrous and chaotic response to the pandemic since January, Trump’s vaguely worded, skimpy plan for reopening the American economy is a recipe for many more preventable deaths and further suffering from new waves of infections.

Any serious proposal must include a robust, federally funded and coordinated plan for massively scaled-up testing, community tracing and the isolation and quarantine of all infected individuals and their potentially infected contacts. Until such a program is implemented, any plan for the widespread reopening of American businesses is fatally flawed and pure folly.

By sending a green light to states to begin reopening businesses, Trump has all but guaranteed that countless Americans will continue to get infected and die, hospitals will be overwhelmed, and the economic damage will expand.