Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), who is self-quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic engulfing his city, said Wednesday the country should be in a “total lockdown.”
“I think the country should be on a lockdown,” Espaillat said on CNN. “Rather than abiding by this Easter Sunday scenario that the President is talking about, we should be in total lockdown.”
“I think the country should be on a lockdown,” says New York @RepEspaillat who has self-quaratined amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Rather than abiding by this Easter Sunday scenario that the President is talking about, we should be in total lockdown.”https://t.co/ubjPsE84Cf pic.twitter.com/5kd5FyX9zB
— New Day (@NewDay) March 25, 2020
Several other countries dealing with heavy coronavirus outbreaks, such as Italy, and other nations fearing substantial numbers of cases, such as India, have imposed stay-at-home orders on their populations. The U.S. has not given such orders on a national level.
President Trump in recent days has signaled he wants to open the country up for business in the coming weeks. On Tuesday, he floated Easter, April 12, as a potential goal for businesses to reopen in much of the country.
Trump has argued that the economic shutdown could be worse than the coronavirus itself.
“You can destroy a country this way, by closing it down, where it literally goes from being the most prosperous,” Trump said Tuesday.
The administration later said the White House and health officials would explore the prospect of reopening businesses in locations that have fewer coronavirus cases.
However, the idea received bipartisan pushback over concerns that the administration was prioritizing economic health over Americans’ physical health.
“There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus,” Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), a member of House GOP leadership, tweeted Tuesday.
Espaillat urged the administration to step up its support for New York, which has been hit particularly hard by the outbreak, and supply the state with additional resources as it battles an exploding number of confirmed cases.
“We need 30,000 [ventilators] for the state of New York. We really shouldn’t be in a position where we have to decide who lives or dies. The hospitals are in dire need,” he said. “This is an unprecedented crisis. We need bold action, we need the ventilators and we need protective equipment for health care workers. If they don’t get it, the health system can collapse.”
Espaillat is in self-quarantine as he follows guidelines from health officials recommending that anyone who recently left New York stay in isolation for two weeks.
New York City alone has more than 15,500 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 192 people have died.