Trump again breaks with experts by calling for people to go back to work, claims seniors 'will be watched over protectively & lovingly'

U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, speaks during a news conference, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Washington D.C., U.S., March 22, 202

  • In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump broke with prevailing public health guidelines by calling again for Americans to return to work as soon as possible to re-start the struggling economy.
  • "Our people want to return to work," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly."
  • Public health experts say that because the virus can be spread by people who show no symptoms and aren't even aware they have it, social distancing is the only way to protect the most vulnerable.
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In a Tuesday morning tweet, President Donald Trump broke with prevailing public health guidelines by calling again for Americans to return to work as soon as possible, repeating his common all-caps refrain that "the cure cannot be worse than the problem."

The White House is currently half-way through a 15-day "Stop the Spread" campaign led by the CDC, which is encouraging Americans to work from home if at all possible and practice social distancing by not gathering in groups with other people.

Yet over the past two days, Trump has begun publicly and privately agitating for businesses to start sending people back to work to boost the cratering US economy, a major concern for Trump as he faces re-election this November.

On Monday, he indicated that he would re-evaluate the Stop the Spread campaign when it ends on March 30, and possibly even relax social distancing guidelines.

"Our people want to return to work," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "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!"

Public health experts, including the doctors on Trump's own coronavirus task force, have stressed that because the virus has not hit its peak in the US, it's more important now than ever for Americans to practice social distancing

Experts also say that because the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by people who show no symptoms and aren't even aware they have it, aggressive social distancing and containment measures across the board are the only way to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations.

Despite Trump's claim that people "will practice social distancing," sending Americans back to work in industries that involve frequent person to person contact directly conflicts with the principles of social distancing.

In many US states and other Western countries, major population centers largely failed at wide-scale social distancing until governments shut down restaurants, bars, and other large gathering centers altogether.

Indeed, the Washington Post reported on Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, and other public-health officials are warning Republican leaders against ending coronavirus-containment measures to restart the economy.

In an interview on The TODAY Show with NBC's Savannah Guthrie on Friday, Fauci threw cold water on the idea that life could go back to normal in a week.

"If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks in other areas, it's at least going to be several weeks," Fauci said. "I cannot see that all of a sudden, next week or two weeks from now, it's going to be over. I don't think there's a chance of that. I think it's going to be several weeks."

Trump's push to send Americans back into the workforce and re-start the economy is receiving criticism not just from experts but from members of his own party, who argue letting the virus infect and kill more people will be worse for the economy in the long run.

On Tuesday morning, Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, tweeted: "There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what's necessary to stop the virus."

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