On March 22, President Trump took to Twitter and typed out a message in all-caps: “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!”
That was more than a month ago. And while all 50 states have begun to take some steps toward reopening shuttered businesses and closed restaurants, the pace is achingly slow.
Now, 500 doctors have banded together to tell Trump to mandate an end the coronavirus shutdown, saying it is a “mass casualty incident” that will cause more death and destruction than the virus itself.
“We are alarmed at what appears to be the lack of consideration for the future health of our patients. The downstream health effects of deteriorating a level are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error,” says a letter written by Simone Gold, a California emergency medical specialist, and signed by hundreds of doctors.
“The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure,” the letter says. “In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse.”
“Because the harm is diffuse, there are those that hold it does not exist. We, the undersigned, know otherwise,” the letter concludes.
“Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%,” the letter sent to the president says, also noting that liquor sales have increased 300% to 600%.
Other doctors have also started to call for changes. Dr. Mike deBoisblanc, head of the trauma at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek near San Francisco, said the loss of more than 37 million jobs across the country amid state shutdowns of businesses deemed “nonessential” and lengthy lockdowns have affected mental health.
“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,” he said. “I mean we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks,” deBoisblanc told ABC-7.
Kacey Hansen has worked as a trauma nurse at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for almost 33 years. She is worried because not only are they seeing more suicide attempts, she says they are not able to save as many patients as usual.
“What I have seen recently, I have never seen before,” Hansen said. “I have never seen so much intentional injury.”
DeBoisblanc said the lockdowns and quarantines must end.
“Personally I think it’s time,” deBoisblanc said. “I think, originally, this [shelter-in-place order] was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients. We have the current resources to do that and our other community health is suffering.”
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