- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2020

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under President Trump, said in a new opinion piece that officials from Mr. Trump on down need to stop politicizing coronavirus mitigation efforts like mask-wearing as cases start to increase again in pockets of the U.S.

Dr. Gottlieb and Yuval Levin, an expert at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote that an increasing number of cases in about a dozen states isn’t a “second wave,” but rather “a series of spikes off the first surge.”

They wrote that while only a small number of states met the criteria to reopen from various coronavirus-related lockdowns, Americans ultimately got “fed up” with isolation, and subsequent mass political protests “made that process more complex.”

“Wearing face masks is the simplest and most effective, along with efforts to practice hygiene and distancing when possible,” they wrote in a Wall Street Journal piece published on Sunday. “Officials from the president down must avoid politicizing these measures.”

They wrote that such measures are “neither conspiracies against your dignity nor proof of your enlightenment,” but rather “sensible ways of reducing infection and fear.”

The piece says the public is unlikely to tolerate broad shutdowns over the summer, and so mayors and governors have to be ready to curtail “specific activities that are sources of spread” if new hot spots pop up.

Cases in some southern and western states have ticked up recently, and the stock market’s hot streak cooled a bit last week on fears of another COVID-19 wave.

Mr. Trump is also scheduled to return to the campaign trail with a massive rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend despite warnings from the executive director of the Tulsa Health Department.

“The spontaneous protests around the country are going to lead to additional spread. Certainly holding a large political rally will as well,” Dr. Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

There are more than 2 million positive coronavirus cases and more than 115,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S., according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is home to more than 300 million people.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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