Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Americans to continue social distancing in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus, a noticeable difference in tone from his successor, who has publicly suggested opening up the nation in two weeks to boost the economy.
In a tweet, Obama shared a news story about overwhelmed health care workers in New York hospitals helping coronavirus patients and said, “another reason to maintain social distancing policies at least until we have comprehensive testing in place. Not just for our sake—for theirs.”
“These are the burdens our medical heroes already face in NYC. It’s only going to get harder across the country,” Obama wrote.
Obama has tweeted encouraging messages during the outbreak, though he’s not directly criticized the Trump administration’s response to it. Obama has urged Americans to protect themselves and others from coronavirus by taking “common sense precautions” like hand-washing and staying home if sick. He also thanked health care professionals who are fighting the coronavirus outbreak, saying in a tweet last week, “They’re giving everything.”
“May we all model our own behavior on their selflessness and sacrifice as we help each other through this,” he said.
On Tuesday, Trump said he wants to ease social distancing measures in order for the country to be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” Health experts have cautioned against easing the guidelines to boost the economy as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise in the US.
“I give it two weeks,” Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall, suggesting he was ready to phase out his 15-day self-isolating guidelines when they expire. “I guess by Monday or Tuesday, it’s about two weeks. We will assess at that time and give it more time if we need a little more time. We have to open this country up.”
The Trump administration has been criticized for its response to the virus and lack of testing kits. Trump has sought to blame his predecessor for slowing down new diagnostic testing but there’s no evidence to support that claim.