Coronavirus: Trust the Science First

As USA Today reported, over the weekend the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. was closing in on 1 million but new cases appear to have reached a plateau, according to one of the nation’s top experts said.

Unfortunately, it is a very high plateau,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Despite this many governors (mostly Democratic ones) have taken a cautious approach to reopening their economies. In Southern states, however, governors are rushing to reopen despite the fact that experts warn a “toxic mix” of extreme health inequities, lack of local hospitals, and poverty ensures the pandemic will “rage” through the South.

Why This Matters: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said his state has likely peaked in its number of coronavirus cases in early April–he said this despite the fact that Florida has seen a sudden spike in reported cases. This creates two narratives about the safety of reopening and it’s dangerous. We should trust doctors and public health experts with the decision to reopen–not politicians with an agenda. For instance, Dr. Deborah Birx has said that we need a testing “breakthrough” to screen the necessary amount of people. This means that people are going to have to decide for themselves if they’re willing to entrust the health of them and their families with politicians like DeSantis and President Trump who prioritize their political interests over public health.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid put it best:

The Florida Experiment: As Politico explained, Florida’s “Safer At Home” order expires April 30, and he’s set up a group primarily of business executives to advise him on how to do it, possibly on a region-by-region basis.

  • But if he does, it will turn Florida into a different kind of petri dish: A test of what happens when a livelihoods-over-lives politics collides with what businesses, families, and bar-goers are really willing to do.

But experts like Thomas LaVeist, dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University, warn that a rushed reopening will be a disaster. “I think that we could be heading for a macabre game of whack-a-mole,” LaVeist said in reference to a chaotic potential reopening and subsequent closing process.

Zoom-ed Out?: Here’s why video conferencing may be making you feel more fatigued.

Food For Thought: Tyson Food warns of an imminent shortage of meat. At the same time, workers are meat processing plants are suing their employers for endangering their lives. All of this is coming with the threat of a looming global food shortage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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