President Donald Trump has been sending many signals, online and off, that he wants to re-open the economy and end social distancing practices — even though medical professionals and experts say that’s a massively dangerous idea.
Now, Trump is being told by the American people themselves not to do it.
On Sunday, Trump sent out a tweet suggesting that the economic hardships created by measures to combat coronavirus and its spread were a “cure” that was worse than the disease itself.
“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump wrote in all capital letters. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
On Tuesday, Trump reiterated his comments, tweeting again and suggesting that Americans could be returning to their places of employment within a matter of weeks.
“Our people want to return to work,” Trump wrote. “They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together.”
Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2020
Social distancing, however, doesn’t work that way — airborne particles can still infect others in close proximities, and even healthy-looking individuals may be carriers of COVID-19.
But besides getting social distancing completely wrong, Trump is misinformed on another front: over what the people want.
A poll published on Tuesday by Monmouth University asked respondents whether they felt their federal and state governments had gone too far, acted appropriately, or didn’t do enough yet when it came to responding to the coronavirus outbreak. By and large, Americans agree: the measures taken so far are wholly appropriate, and even more should be done.
Only 6 percent said that the federal government had gone too far at this point. Meanwhile, a combined 92 percent of Americans said in the poll that the feds had acted appropriately (47 percent) or hadn’t gone far enough yet (45 percent).
When it came to how respondents felt about their states, only 9 percent said things had gone to the extremes, while 62 percent said they had been appropriately carried out. Twenty-five percent said their state leaders should do more.
In short, Americans, though likely not thrilled about it, are content with the fact that these measures have to be taken in order to ensure the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed due to the spread of coronavirus. They’re ready to do what it takes to “flatten the curve.” Trump, on the other hand, appears only to be concerned with his electoral chances, or perhaps his own bottom line.