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20 House Dems Call for Nationwide Shut Down in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

Democratic Representative Ro Khanna holds a news conference in Lisbon, Portugal, November 6, 2019. (Pedro Nunes/Reuters)

A group of 20 House Democrats led by Representative Ro Khanna of California released a letter on Monday calling for a nationwide shelter-in-place order to stem the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

“To effectively slow COVID-19’s spread, we must issue a shelter-in-place order for the entire country lasting at least two weeks, excepting only travel for essential services like grocery stores and health care providers,” the letter reads. “There is no doubt that an action of this magnitude will temporarily disrupt daily lives and cause short-term economic pain, but it will help prevent an extended outbreak and response that could plunge us deep into a long-lasting recession”

The letter represents one of the first calls by elected officials for nationwide measures to stem the outbreak. President Trump has resisted issuing national quarantine orders, saying on Monday that the U.S. is not “built to be shut down.” State governments have imposed various restrictions on public gatherings and businesses based on the level of outbreak in their jurisdictions.

“A state-by-state, locality-by-locality approach is not enough,” the letter signatories wrote. “Without action, the U.S. could end up like Italy, Spain, or worse.”

Meanwhile, other elected officials are voicing support for plans to return workers to their jobs while maintaining social-distancing and other measures to counter the coronavirus. Representative Mike Gallagher (R., Wisc.) published an op-ed in the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday calling for Wisconsin residents to work while implementing “strategic quarantines” of vulnerable individuals.

“Wisconsin must therefore adapt best practices and guidance from national experts to meet the needs of our state, recognizing that what works for Manhattan and Los Angeles may be different than what works for Milwaukee and Madison,” Gallagher wrote.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York on Tuesday also floated the possibility of healthy, younger individuals returning to work once the coronavirus outbreak recedes in the state.

“You can have an economic startup strategy consistent with the public health strategy,” Cuomo said at a press conference It’s smart, it’s complicated, it’s sophisticated, but that’s what government is supposed to do.”

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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