The Sunday show circuit featured a number of high-profile individuals commenting on the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. With the number of cases rising in New York City and fears over fleeing residents infecting people in other states, the White House is considering various measures to deal with the spread of the illness.
Biden Slams Trump Response To Coronavirus
Former Vice President Joe Biden made an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, in which he sharply criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. When host Chuck Todd asked his guest how he would convey to the American public that they must continue to practice social distancing for at least another 60 days, Biden responded by insisting that Americans are “really strong and tough” and deserve to hear the “unvarnished truth.”
The Democratic Party’s 2020 frontrunner stated: “The American people have never shied away from being able to deal with the truth.” He continued, “The worst thing you can do is raise false expectations and then watch them get dashed – then, they begin to lose confidence in their leadership.”
Biden was referencing the fact that President Trump hoped to reopen the economy by Easter. Some experts have argued that it would not be safe to open commerce until June. Currently, millions of Americans reside in cities currently under locally-mandated “stay-at-home” orders or closures of all non-essential businesses, which means most residents are unable to work.
Biden also indicated that he would implement the Defense Production Act, which would enlist private companies to manufacture masks, ventilators, gowns, and other medical equipment to address the coronavirus pandemic. “Why are we waiting? We know they’re needed. They’re going to be increasingly needed,” he asserted.
The former vice president also took another jab at the president, insisting Trump should “get away from the childishness of this and focus on the problem,” and heed the advice of scientific experts.
White House Issues Warnings To State And City Leaders
Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, also spoke with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press about the White House’s ongoing efforts to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. She explained that the president is “asking every single governor and every single mayor to prepare like New York is preparing now.”
New York has been the epicenter of coronavirus cases. The New York Intelligencer reported: “At least 965 people with COVID-19 have died in the state, which has the largest number — around 42 percent — of confirmed cases in the U.S.”
Birx said state and city leaders should know where each of their hospitals are located and where “every piece of equipment is in the state” and how to allocate resources “based on need.”
“So it’s not just what you have inside your doors today. It’s how you can surge and move things around,” Birx said. “We know this epidemic moves in waves. Each city will have its own epidemic curve. And so we can move between states, we can move within states, to meet the needs of everyone.”
The doctor urged leaders to move quickly on preparing for an increased number of coronavirus cases. She said:
“No state, no metro area will be spared, and the sooner we react, and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans.”
Former FDA Commissioner Says It’s Still Too Early To Lift Restrictions
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb participated in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation to discuss the measures being put into place by state and city leaders to prevent more infections. He stated it isn’t yet time to lift the orders in place.
“It’s too early to lift these measures,” he said. “It’s going to be a difficult April. We’re going to get through this. April’s going to be a hard month.”
Gottlieb also indicated that after April, leaders could consider rescinding the orders. “Come May, we’ll be coming out of this and contemplate starting to lift some of these measures, as we see the epidemic curve come down.”
The former commissioner also cautioned that lifting the social distancing orders should be done “very gradually” and that state governments “need to substitute in other things.”
Like others, Gottlieb pointed to New York as the most significant concern and that the number of cases in the state would need to be monitored to gauge how to assess the spread of the virus:
“And it may appear the overall number of cases across the nation are coming down because New York represents such a big part of that, but in fact, New York could be coming down and other parts of the country could be going up,” Gottlieb added. “So we need to look at this on a regional basis.”
Read more from Jeff Charles.