Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, warned against reopening schools early just one day earlier.
Donald Trump contradicted his administration's coronavirus expert Monday morning, demanding schools reopen amid the ongoing pandemic.
"Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!" he tweeted.
One day earlier, on Sunday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the leader of the White House coronavirus task force, dismissed any suggestions that the country was doing well, telling CNN's "State of the Union" that the pandemic was not under control.
"What we are seeing today is different from March and April," Birx said. "It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas."
When it came to schools, Birx cautioned against a blanket policy on reopening.
"In the areas where we have this widespread case increase, we need to stop the cases, and then we can talk about safely reopening [schools]," she told CNN. "If you have high caseload and active community spread, just like we are asking people not to go to bars, not to have household parties, not to create large spreading events, we are asking people to distance learn at this moment so we can get this epidemic under control."
As of Monday morning, more than 4.6 million people in the country had tested positive for coronavirus and at least 155,333 people had died. According to the New York Times, the number of cases has declined in only seven states over the past week, while the number of deaths increased in 30.
Throughout the pandemic, Trump has regularly contradicted health professionals, including those like Birx working with his administration, ignoring warnings about a spike in cases caused by states opening back up too early.
He has also pushed unproven methods and drugs to treat or prevent the virus: Even after numerous studies debunked the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, in treating coronavirus, for instance, Trump touted it repeatedly, to experts' disbelief.
In the spring, Trump urged states to lift stay-at-home measures even as top medical professionals warned of possible danger.
"If some areas, cities, states or what-have-you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said at a Senate hearing on May 12.
He said reopening too early may lead to "suffering and death that could be avoided."
Many states that rushed to reopen — including Florida, Texas, and Arizona — have since seen large spikes in coronavirus cases as Fauci and other health experts predicted.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.