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Obama presses for social distancing policies to remain in place

The Hill logo The Hill 3/25/2020 Zack Budryk
Barack Obama wearing a suit and tie: Obama presses for social distancing policies to remain in place © Getty Images Obama presses for social distancing policies to remain in place

Former President Obama on Wednesday urged the continuance of social-distancing protocols amid a push by some lawmakers and public figures to end such measures earlier than public health officials have recommended.

"These are the burdens our medical heroes already face in NYC," Obama tweeted Wednesday. The former president linked in his tweet a New Yorker article that described the burdens the coronavirus pandemic has placed on New York's hospitals, including overextended intensive care units, lack of personal protective equipment and unclear protocols on handling coronavirus patients.

Bing COVID-19 tracker: Latest numbers by country and stateĀ 

"It's only going to get harder across the country. Another reason to maintain social distancing policies at least until we have comprehensive testing in place. Not just for our sake-for theirs," he added.

The tweet comes as President Trump has increasingly called for businesses and the economy to be reopened sooner rather than later, suggesting public gatherings could resume by Easter Sunday. However, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that this date should be "flexible."

"You can destroy a country this way, by closing it down, where it literally goes from being the most prosperous," Trump said Tuesday.

However, other public officials have pushed back on the idea of a quick return to business as usual with Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), who is self-quarantining, telling CNN on Wednesday that the lockdown should be nationwide.

"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."

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