Doctor behind an anti-lockdown letter to the president denies coordinating with Trump campaign, GOP officials
Chris White on May 19, 2020
- Nearly 500 medical doctors warned President Donald Trump that continued economic lockdowns will likely create more panic and cause millions of deaths as sick people will avoid hospitals out of fear of contracting coronavirus.
- The media is connecting positive coronavirus cases to deaths, creating the widespread perception that people who become infected with the virus will eventually die from the illness, they said.
- Republican operatives coordinated a plan with another conservative group to recruit doctors to help push for reopening the economy, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. The doctor who wrote the letter participated in a phone conference Tuesday with one of the groups involved. She denied coordinating her efforts.
Hundreds of medical doctors are warning President Donald Trump that continued economic lockdowns will kill millions of sick and injured people in the United States who avoided visiting the hospital out of fear that they could contract coronavirus.
The media is linking coronavirus cases and deaths, creating the perception among millions that contracting the virus means guaranteed death, according to a letter Dr. Simone Gold sent to Trump on Tuesday. Gold, a doctor of emergency medicine, is part of A Doctor A Day, a group arguing that the media and policy makers are not focusing enough on deaths not directly tied to the virus.
“The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse,” she wrote in a letter signed by nearly 500 medical practitioners.
Gold, for her part, participated in a Tea Party Patriots Action media call Tuesday alongside neurosurgeon Steven Giannotta and pediatrician Robert Hamilton, all of whom expressed the belief that there are serious negative health effects tied to keeping American businesses and schools closed indefinitely. She used the call to address many of the concerns she noted in the memo.
Republican operatives are recruiting doctors to advocate in the press for reopening the economy, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing a leaked recording of a May 11 phone call with a Trump campaign senior staffer organized by CNP Action, a GOP group.
Tea Party Patriots is part of the coalition, according to the AP. Gold denied to the AP that she was coordinating her efforts.
Gold is in the minority to a certain extent as other doctors argue the lockdowns are not only necessary, but crucial.
The Utah Academy of Family Physicians, which represents more than 1,000 physicians and medical experts across Utah, called on Gov. Gary Herbert in April to issue statewide stay-at-home orders to slow down the virus. The governor issued stay-at-home orders in parts of the state, according to The New York Times.
Dr. Austin Baeth, an internal medicine physician at UnityPoint, pushed Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to deploy lockdowns as well.
“My greatest fear is that we will have patient after patient after patient rolled into our hospitals and we have nowhere to put them,” Baeth said in an April 3 interview with KCCI Iowa. “We have no ventilator to give them and people who would have otherwise survived this illness, had we had the capacity to help them, will instead die.”
The lockdowns are effective at flattening the curve, but there is a heavy price to pay for that success, Gold noted.
“In medical terms, the shutdown was a mass casualty incident,” Gold added in the letter, referring to a disaster akin to a plane wreck or terrorist attack.
The state-by-state lockdowns were implemented to slow the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, before infecting more than 40 countries. The virus has reportedly killed more than 300,000 people worldwide, leaving a death toll of close to 90,000 people in the United States. Trump, for his part, has expressed a desire to get the U.S. economy rolling again.
“There is a disconnect between what average American people think is going on and what is actually going on. There are all the patients out there that are not showing up to emergency departments,” Gold said during the call. “The volume is incredibly low. As low as 50%. Everybody is having the same experience, with the exception of the New York areas.”
She added: “That’s a story that the American people need to see.”
Gold’s warnings come as data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that total deaths are nearly 50% higher in states slammed by the virus.
The data appears to illustrate how the pandemic is causing an increase in deaths, perhaps as a result of people forgoing hospital visits for what would otherwise be treatable conditions. TheNYT initially reported on the data in April, suggesting that the CDC’s findings show that coronavirus death tolls are likely higher than official counts.
Meanwhile, research shows that the virus is placing pressure on the health care system. Hospital admissions for a serious type of heart attack fell 38% in nine U.S. hospitals in March amid the pandemic, according to TheNYT, which cited an April 7 draft paper from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The White House has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for confirmation that the administration received the letter.
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