880 In Depth: Public Health Official Warns Of ‘Italy-Like’ Crisis In US


­­­­­NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — President Donald Trump has said he wants to reopen the United States’ economy and have people get back to their normal lives by Easter, but those comments have drawn sharp criticism from a number of officials.

Models have shown the health system will soon be overwhelmed and a plan to reopen the country in a matter of weeks seems impossible.

Public health expert Irwin Redlener spoke with WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell and Tim Scheld in this week’s 880 In Depth podcast to explain why the country needs to remain closed.

“We’re facing an Italy-like crisis in our healthcare system and there should be no double about that in people’s minds,” Redlener said. “We might want to wish it away but it’s essentially inevitable now that that’s where we’re going,”

Talk of revving up the economy by opening up businesses would be a huge mistake, according to Redlener, who heads the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at The Earth Institute of Columbia University.

“We will get a resurgence and maybe an acceleration of the spread,” he notes.

Already, Redlener says the virus has lived up to the worst expectations, so public health officials are not willing to take any chances.

“We’ve confirmed, in a sense, our worst fears about how rapidly this virus can get out of control,” he said.

He called Trump’s timeline to reopen the country in just three weeks “foolish.”

Redlener wants people to continue to maintain social distancing, even in stores, and recommends self-quarantine continue until the curve of infection begins to flatten.

Listen to the full conversation with Irwin Redlener on the 880 In Depth podcast on the RADIO.COM app or wherever you get your podcasts.