1,000+ health professionals urge government to 'hit reset button' in pandemic response

An open letter urging the government to suspend non-essential businesses and activities, listen to public health experts and reset the U.S. pandemic response has drawn support from more than 1,000 health professionals. 


The letter, titled "Shut It Down, Start Over, Do It Right," was published by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and written by its public health campaigns director, Matthew Wellington. The letter was sent July 22 to the Trump Administration, Congressional leadership and state governors.

"In March, people went home and stayed there for weeks, to keep themselves and their neighbors safe," Mr. Wellington wrote. "You didn't use the time to set us up to defeat the virus. And then you started to reopen anyway, and too quickly."

The letter urges lawmakers to: 

  • Honestly assess the enormity of America's choices
  • Abolish the notion that reopening is the best thing for the nation ("The best thing for the nation would be for as many of us as possible to not die from COVID-19," the letter states.)
  • Listen to public health experts
  • Close non-essential businesses, mandate masks in all situations where people interact, and bar non-essential interstate travel

The letter closes by calling for leaders to lead. "We need you to tell the American people the truth about the virus, even when it's hard. We need you to take bold action to save lives — even when it means shutting down again."

"Many of the actions of our government thus far have fallen short of what the moment demands. Mr. Trump, federal administration, honorable governors: we remind you that history has its eyes on you." 

View the open letter's signatories here

U.S. PIRG is an advocacy group, founded in 1984, made up of independent, state-based, citizen-funded public interest research groups.

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