California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes apparently believes he knows better than the numerous public health experts who have urged "social distancing," instead encouraging people to "go to your local pub" in the midst of a growing coronavirus outbreak.
What experts are saying: "I would like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction we see in restaurants and in bars. Whatever it takes to do that, that's what I would like to see," Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Saturday.
What state and local governments are doing: Los Angeles has ordered the closing of all clubs and bars, and limited restaurant activity to takeout or delivery. New York City, Washington, D.C., Washington state, Illinois, and Ohio are taking similar measures to slow the spread of the virus, so that health care providers aren't overwhelmed with cases, which happened in China and Italy.
What Devin Nunes is saying: "If you're healthy, you and your family, it's a great time to go out and go to a local restaurant, likely you can get in easily," Nunes said Sunday on Fox News. "Let's not hurt the working people in this country ... go to your local pub."
What might happen if you listen to Devin Nunes: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) provided an outlook for what might happen if people continue to gather in large numbers in public, speeding up the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19.
"The wave is going to break on the hospital system," Cuomo said, according to Axios. "We are doing everything we can to flatten the curve. I believe we've taken more dramatic actions than any state in the United States. I believe we've had the most effective response of any state in the United States. I don't believe we're going to be able to flatten the curve enough to meet the capacity of the health care system."
But we don't have to speculate. In northern Italy, the health care system was totally overwhelmed by a rapid increase in coronavirus cases, leading to a situation in which many people died because there are not enough beds and not enough medical equipment to treat everyone who is in serious or critical condition. A doctor in northern Italy wrote:
We've stopped all routine, all ORs have been converted to ICUs and they are now diverting or not treating all other emergencies like trauma or strokes.
There are hundreds of patients with severe respiratory failure and many of them do not have access to anything above a reservoir mask. Patients above 65 or younger with comorbidities are not even assessed by ICU, I am not saying not tubed (intubated), I'm saying not assessed and no ICU staff attends when they arrest.