Governors who are easing restrictions on businesses and residents are risking the lives of citizens, disaster experts said Friday.
“You’re making a big mistake. It’s going to cost lives,” Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster preparedness specialist at Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN Friday.
Redlener and Joseph Fair, senior fellow in pandemic policy at Texas A&M University, warned in a report that no state or city should begin to reduce restrictions until coronavirus infections have been steadily decreasing for 10 days to two weeks, and not until enough tests are available to assess just how many people really are infected. So far, 31 states have announced plans or have started reducing restrictions imposed to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
Redlener said he sent the report on Friday to every governor, senator and member of Congress.
“We clearly understand the need to reopen America’s businesses. People need the work and families desperately need the income and businesses need to survive. And people need to come out of isolation and resume the normal activities of social interactions, attending events and getting our children back to school,” Redlener wrote in a letter accompanying the report.
“But if we don’t do this properly, more people will die. Is that a burden and responsibility that America’s governors wish to assume?” he added.
Testing is nowhere near where it should be, the report said.
“We do know that we are very far from doing enough diagnostic tests each week in the US,” Redlener and Fair write in the report.