Mar 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Obama: Keep social distancing for the sake of "our medical heroes"

In this image, Obama sits while gesturing

Obama at an Obama Foundation event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 2019. Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for Americans to stay at home and maintain social distancing for the sake of doctors, nurses and medical staff treating coronavirus patients across the country.

Why it matters: President Trump said at a Fox News town hall Tuesday that he would "love" to have the country "opened up, and just raring to go" by Easter, or April 12, despite warnings from public health officials that easing social distancing restrictions too soon could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

  • Social distancing is intended to "flatten the curve," or reduce the rate of hospitalizations so that the health care system isn't overwhelmed.

What he's saying: "These are the burdens our medical heroes already face in NYC," Obama tweeted, linking to a New Yorker article about "the growing chaos" inside New York hospitals.

  • "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."

Go deeper: Doctors and nurses urge people to stay home

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