To President Trump and the Centers for Disease Control:
As doctors, nurses and healthcare providers working every day on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19, we call on President Trump to take specific action to reduce the spread of this deadly and devastating pandemic.
The three measures we call for are based on medical and scientific consensus. If done right, these actions will give our nation both a way to protect countless lives and a path for our nation to emerge from this unprecedented pandemic, responsibly and safely.
Data, science and the experiences of other countries tell us that these three measures represent the best strategy for reining in the transmission of COVID-19 across the United States.
Acting on their own, states cannot implement these measures to their full effect — only the federal government can.
What the epidemiological evidence tells us is that these measures, taken together as a coherent national strategy to suppress COVID-19, can further expedite a return to normalcy and heal the American economy far more effectively than non-action, piecemeal action or worse, reckless actions uninformed by public health.
The three measures are:
- The Trump Administration must issue a shelter-in-place order for the entire nation. The coronavirus does not recognize state borders. A federal shelter-in-place order can slow the transmission of COVID-19. Models show that aggressive physical or social distancing measures such as shelter-in-place can keep infections low enough, prevent waves of patients from overwhelming hospitals and buy time for healthcare professionals to keep up with the flood of patients.
- To increase the effectiveness and reduce the timeframe of a federal shelter-in-place order, the Trump Administration should immediately begin a widespread national testing regimen that tests symptomatic and asymptomatic people. A rigorous and comprehensive testing campaign can help us better identify outbreak hotspots as well as areas where the infection has eased and which can be phased out of the shelter-in-place order. Frequent and extensive testing on a national scale is the only way to safely constrain the length of time of a shelter-in-place order.
- To ensure that all healthcare workers, from doctors and nurses to cleaners, lab techs and radiologists, are safe as they care for patients, the Trump Administration must operationalize the Defense Production Act to scale up production of much-needed supplies and equipment. Healthcare workers need masks, gloves, swabs and other personal protective equipment to prevent getting or transmitting COVID-19. Patients need ventilators, ICU beds and other critical items to heal and recover safely. All are in woefully short supply. The federal government can mobilize businesses to innovate and manufacture the critical materials our nation needs to turn the tide against COVID-19.
We believe these three measures are essential to protecting and restoring the health and safety of our fellow Americans. They are vital to our national security and to our nation’s future.
These three measures, taken together, will save lives. If we do not enact these measures lives will be lost.
I urge President Trump and the federal government to take these actions immediately.