More than 800,000 physicians across the country signed a letter urging President Donald Trump to keep social distancing practices in place after he said he wants to reopen businesses by Easter.
“Significant COVID-19 transmission continues across the United States, and we need your leadership in supporting science-based recommendations on social distancing that can slow the virus,” the letter, released by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, said. “Our societies have closely adhered to these measures by moving our staff to fulltime telework and canceling in-person meetings (including annual meetings). These actions have helped to keep physicians and other health professionals in health care facilities, including hospitals, and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.”
The virus continues to spread across the U.S. and has killed at least 1,000 people in the country. In order to slow the spread of the virus, many states have closed schools, restaurants and other places where people gather in large numbers, and nonessential workers have been told to stay home.
The president, along with his sycophants at Fox News, have continuously downplayed the threat, at one point falsely claiming the virus was a Democratic or media “hoax” made up to hurt the president’s chances of reelection. A lack of testing kits and an administration downplaying the threat has only exacerbated the dangerous situation.
Earlier this week, Trump said he wanted to end social distancing and have the economy back up and running by Easter, a date he chose for no other reason than it would be “a beautiful time.”
“Easter’s a very special day for me,” Trump told Fox News on Tuesday. “Wouldn’t it be great to have all of the churches full? You’ll have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time.”
Medical professionals disagree.
“Federal, state, and local governments should only set a date for lifting nationwide social distancing restrictions consistent with assessments by public health and medical experts,” the letter from CMSS said. “Lifting restrictions sooner will gravely jeopardize the health of all Americans and extend the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.