President Donald Trump is considering lifting the guidelines that state Americans should practice social distancing in order to save the economy, a sign that he may be prioritizing his own re-election over the health and well-being of the American people against the threat of coronavirus.
The president is reportedly impatient with the possibility of a long and drawn out social distancing campaign, one that will inevitably result in a recession, many economists believe. As a positive economy has long been the only thing going for him, in terms of public opinion polling, it appears that Trump is not willing to sacrifice that issue for the good of the nation.
In a tweet he issued on Sunday night, Trump made clear that he was beginning to view the attempts to stave off the crisis — particularly the efforts to “flatten the curve” of burden on healthcare professionals across the nation — as being worse than the crisis itself.
Writing in all capital letters, Trump stated that, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.” He added that his administration will evaluate whether or not to end the current efforts to combat coronavirus after the end of a 15-day period.
WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
On Monday, he suggested Americans would be going back to work soon.
“America will again and soon be open for business — very soon,” Trump said at a White House news conference. He repeated the line from his tweet on Sunday:
“We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”
Some opinion articles from conservative outlets have backed the idea that consideration must be given to the economic health of the nation instead of the actual health of the people. Health experts, however, warn that Trump’s doing so would result in more Americans contracting COVID-19 — a result that will overwhelm healthcare professionals, and likely result in more deaths.
At the end of the day, this is all about power. Trump and allied Republicans fear that he will be hampered in his reelection with a bad economy. And that, in turn, matters more than anything else: science, hospitals, social cohesion and, now, human life. It’s all about power.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) March 24, 2020
The economic end of this crisis, it should be noted, may not be salvaged simply by lifting social distancing measures. The drop in the stock market, for example, happened well-before social distancing campaigns were implemented or even considered.
From February 12 to February 28, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 14 percent, and continued to drop after that point. Although many social distancing techniques were implemented in the first few days of March, the first stay-at-home statewide order did not begin until March 19.
Featured image credit: The White House/Flickr