In a Sunday column for The New York Times, political commentator Thomas L. Friedman accused President Donald Trump of forcing Americans to "play Russian roulette" with their lives amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Friedman began by pointing to Trump's recent tweets in which he encouraged the liberation of Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia. According to Friedman, the president's tweets implied that Americans in these states should return to work.
"From now on, each of us individually, and our society collectively, is going to play Russian roulette," Friedman wrote.
"We're going to bet that we can spin through our daily lives — work, shopping, school, travel — without the coronavirus landing on us. And if it does, we'll also bet that it won't kill us."The gamble, Friedman says, is that reopening the American economy will not lead to a number of coronavirus hospitalizations that exceed the healthcare system's capacity. As noted by various public health experts, a significant danger of COVID-19 is the threat it poses to health care systems that do not have enough ventilators, beds, and workers.
"What will be so cruel about this American version of Russian roulette is how unfair it will be," Friedman writes.
He points to the people that will have no choice but to ride subways or buses to work, families that will have to send their kids back to school because they don't have the finances to stay home from work, and people who are forced to return to work by their employers.
Ultimately, Friedman claims that Trump is letting American's make their own decisions about whether or not to follow social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place recommendations that public health experts claim is crucial to curbing the spread of coronavirus.
"And if this strategy works, you can be sure that he will take credit. And if it doesn't, you can be sure that he will tweet that it was all Anthony Fauci's idea."Although Trump is eager to reopen the economy, governors are pushing back against the idea. As reported by Vox, Trump claims that there are enough COVID-19 testing kits to revive the economy. But according to both Republican and Democratic governors, their testing capacity is inadequate for the need. According to Vox, states are still hundreds of thousands of tests short of being able to reopen their economies safely.
Per Science Alert, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that testing is one of the most crucial actions that can be taken to curb the spread of coronavirus. Such testing can ensure that both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers are effectively isolated from the public and prevent the virus' spread.