Cleveland-Area Doctors Join National Call For Shutdown To Contain COVID-19

In an open letter, hundreds of healthcare professionals are calling for stricter measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. [wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock]
Hundreds of healthcare professionals are calling for stricter national and state policies to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. [wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock]
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Several Cleveland-area doctors are among a thousand healthcare professionals who signed an open letter asking national and state leaders to take more drastic measures to contain COVID-19.

The physicians who signed the letter, written by national lobbying group United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), are calling for stricter policies to get people to stay home to fight COVID-19.

They are calling for orders that would close everything except essential services like food, healthcare and exercise. They also recommend prohibiting travel between states and a national mask mandate.

University Hospitals dermatologist Dr. Neil Korman is one of several local doctors who signed the letter. He said there needs to be another stay-at-home order in Ohio. 

“Ohio is starting to trend in the wrong direction and I think we rushed the opening too fast, and I think the governor needs to wake up and start shutting things down again," Dr. Korman said. 

Korman is also concerned that national leaders, including the president, have not implemented an effective strategy for containing the spread. 

"I feel very strongly that our leaders are doing a horrific job," he said. "[They need to] reverse course. Change course. They need to hit the reset button."

Dr. Ryan Marino, an emergency physician at University Hospitals, also signed the letter and criticized national leadership during the pandemic.

"At the national level, there has not been a consistent response at all," Dr. Marino said. "That's probably the biggest problem. We needed national leadership on this, and we still need national leadership. It's not too late to do things right."

Closing down some businesses and activities, such as sporting events, for even a few weeks could help give officials more time to ramp up testing and contact tracing efforts, he said.

“Now, we’re seeing in some of these states that are even harder hit, test and trace wouldn’t even be possible at this point just because of the sheer volume of cases," Marino said. "So, that’s kind of the reason for advocating for shutting things down, at least for a little bit, to get the things in place.” 

Matt Wellington, director of public health campaigns at U.S. PIRG, said the letter has reached nearly one thousand signatures from epidemiologists, nurses, emergency room workers and other healthcare providers across the country.

"It's time for decision-makers to really listen to health experts, and meet the criteria health experts have laid out since the beginning to reopen safely," he said. "That has not happened so far in many of the states."


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