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‘He Is Going to Override the Governors’: Outrage Over Trump Letter on ‘Increasing or Relaxing Social Distancing’

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President Donald Trump sent the nation’s governors an uncharacteristically kind and deferential letter on the coronavirus crisis, announcing he is preparing a program to classify every county in the nation as low, medium, or high risk.

The letter also says his administration will “publish new guidelines for State and local policymakers to use in making decisions about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place.”

“Our expanded testing capabilities will quickly enable us to publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the Nation’s public health officials and scientists, to help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by the virus,” the letter continues. Trump has been claiming – falsely – that the US has tested more people than any other country. The ability to test is still woefully inadequate. “This will incorporate robust surveillance testing, which allows us to monitor the spread of the virus throughout the country. Under these data-driven criteria, we will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk.”

It does not state that the CDC or other medical authority will make the determination – or that the CDC even supports this new program.

CNN’s Jim Acosta notes it was sent without the full support – or even notification – of Trump’s coronavirus task force.

Some see the letter as paving the way for Trump to achieve his main goal: opening up the country by Easter Sunday – an act the president has no right or authority to do, especially as the governors and mayors are the ones who shut their areas down.

Here’s how some are responding:

 

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