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Trump's hope for Easter 'reopening' unlikely, U-M scientist say

Eisenberg: Gradual return to normal is possible after progress shown
Report: artist behind Trump headstone
Posted at 4:59 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 19:23:51-04

(WXYZ) — President Trump’s hope for the United States to be ‘opened up and raring to go’ by Easter is not realistic, according to an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan.

"There’s tremendous hope," Trump said, "as we look forward and begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel."

But Dr. Joseph Eisenebrg, the chair of UM’s department of epidemiology, said the President’s optimism doesn’t match with reality.

“We just started some intensive distancing maybe a couple weeks ago,” Eisenberg said, adding that different states throughout the country are at different stages of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“To have one timeline to say that everything is going to be under control is not realistic,” he said.

Only 4 states have more cases of COVID-19 than Michigan, which today reported nearly 2,300 total. Dr. Eisenberg estimates that the true number is in the tens of thousands.

It would be wise, he said, to look to other countries who turned the tide against the disease’s spread to understand what the U.S. can expect.

“It could easily take a month or more, and I think if you look at China, we’re talking two plus months of this kind of intense control,” he said.

Eisenberg isn’t saying that a gradual return to normal isn’t possible, but to do it, he says we need to first see a reduction in the number of daily cases.

“Once we start seeing flattening of the curve, we can start thinking about ways we can safely start allowing different businesses to operate,” he said.

And with testing for the disease still not running at full speed, the state doesn’t have its arms around the scope of the problem. Until that changes, Eisenberg says we don’t know what we don’t know about COVID-19.

“I can say by Easter that we might be thinking about relaxing some conditions,” he said, “but it would be pretty optimistic to say we’d be business as usual.”