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Corona Crisis: over 150 US experts urge decision makers to shut down country to stop COVID-19 spread

More than 150 U.S. public health leaders and experts, including several based in the Bay Area, signed an open letter and issued it on Thursday calling on the U.S. government to shut the country down to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the letter addressed to the Trump administration, members of Congress and state governors, the experts asked the U.S. decision makers to hit the "reset button" and bring back the self-quarantine orders nationwide. "Right now we are on a path to lose more than 200,000 American lives by November 1. Yet, in many states people can drink in bars, get a haircut, eat inside a restaurant, get a tattoo, get a massage, and do myriad other normal, pleasant, but non-essential activities," said the letter.

The best thing for the nation is not to reopen as quickly as possible, it is to save as many lives as possible. And reopening before suppressing the virus is not going to help the economy, the experts noted. Decision makers should also listen to the experts and provide enough daily testing capacity as the country only has 35 percent of the testing capacity needed for a safe economic reopening, said the letter.
"Shut it down now, and start over," the experts appealed. Non-essential businesses should be closed, and masks should be mandatory in all situations, indoors and outdoors, where people interact with others, they said. More than 4.1 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States with the fatalities surpassing 145,000 as of Friday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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