SAN JOSE (CBS SF / AP) – Rep. Ro Khanna (D-San Jose) has penned a letter calling for President Donald Trump to issue a national shelter-in-place to slow the spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, Trump said he was hoping the country would be ready to reopen by the Easter holiday.
“Our current actions to stem the tide are not enough. The total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths have nearly doubled over the last 48 hours. At this rate, we will surpass one million confirmed cases and 13,000 deaths within the next ten days,” the letter (.pdf) states.
Khanna urged the president to issue a two-week shelter-in-place order nationally, similar to the ones already in place in California and several other states.
“A state-by-state, locality-by-locality approach is not enough. Without action, the U.S. could end up like Italy, Spain, or worse,” Khanna went on to say.
Nineteen other House Democrats co-signed the letter sent to Trump, including Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland.
Khanna’s district covers Santa Clara County, one of the hardest hit in the country due to the outbreak. As of Monday afternoon, county health officials said there are 375 cases and 16 deaths from COVID-19.
Other Bay Area leaders echoed the concerns expressed by Khanna, with one mayor harshly criticizing the President.
“All of our political leaders — local, state, and federal — would do well to heed the science and the best advice of our health experts before giving anyone false hope of a return to normalcy,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Leadership in times of crisis — more than any other time — requires truth-telling, and we should be wary of those who are too willing to tell people what they want to hear.”
“The President has exhibited such poor leadership throughout this crisis,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf during an interview. “Going from Obama blaming to denial to now downplaying the seriousness of this crisis, it is so reprehensible that he is not giving American people the truth. And that is that this is serious and that by taking decisive action now, we can avoid death and suffering.”
“We as a city and my many colleagues in local government, are concerned primarily with preventing and mitigating the catastrophic health effects of this virus,” said San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals. “Americans are resilient. The economy will rebound when the Health Officers tell us it is safe to do so. Until then, it is irresponsible and dangerous to put the economy ahead of American lives.”
Meanwhile, Trump is weighing how to refine nationwide social-distancing guidelines to put some workers back on the job amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he said during a Fox News virtual town hall on Tuesday.
Easter Sunday falls on April 12th this year.
Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction, staying home from work and isolating themselves, the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system, as it has in parts of Italy, leading to many more deaths.
While the worst outbreaks are concentrated in certain parts of the country, such as New York, experts warn that the highly infectious disease is certain to spread.
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.