As Trump Eyes Easter Opening, Dems Insist on Nationwide 'Shelter in Place' Order

By Susan Jones | March 25, 2020 | 8:03am EDT
(Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images)

( - President Donald Trump told a Fox News town hall on Tuesday that he wants the country to get back to business "relatively soon" -- by April 12, in fact:

"I'd love to have it open by Easter," Trump said. "I will tell you that right now. I would love to have that -- It's such an important day for other reasons, but I will make it an important day for this, too. I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go, by Easter."

A number of Trump critics pounced on his remarks, noting that the number of coronaviruses has not peaked in this country but is still growing daily.

In fact, a group of House Democrats on Tuesday insisted that President Trump, far from opening the country, should lock it down for two weeks:

"We urge you to immediately issue a nationwide 'shelter-in-place' order in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak," Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and 19 other Democrat lawmakers wrote in a letter to the president:

To effectively slow COVID-19’s spread, we must issue a shelter-in-place order for the entire country lasting at least two weeks, excepting only travel for essential services like grocery stores and health care providers, and to and from the workplace for critical workers.

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin have already issued similar shelter-in-place orders. A national order would create minimum guidelines and requirements for each state to implement, with enforcement handled at the state level.

Given insufficient availability of mass testing and the ability for asymptomatic individuals to unknowingly spread the coronavirus, we must reduce person-to-person contact to the bare minimum. It is the only proven way we can limit the growth of confirmed cases, insulate our health care system, and prevent catastrophe.

There is no doubt that an action of this magnitude will temporarily disrupt daily lives and cause short-term economic pain, but it will help prevent an extended outbreak and response that could plunge us deep into a long-lasting recession...The cost of preventive action will save trillions of dollars in the long run and many priceless lives.

We must not hesitate. If we wait to act until the number of sick and dead reaches a certain threshold, then it will be too late. A state-by-state, locality-by-locality approach is not enough. Without action, the U.S. could end up like Italy, Spain, or worse. We thus urge you to immediately issue a nationwide shelter-in-place order.

New York is the current epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. As of Wednesday morning, there were 53,200 total cases in the United States and around 700 deaths.


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