Hundreds of doctors are warning President Trump about the "exponentially growing health consequences" of stay-at-home orders as a response to the Wuhan coronavirus. In a letter sent to the president on Tuesday and obtained by Fox News, the doctors are calling the shutdowns a "mass casualty incident" and warning of the various health consequences the shutdowns are having on millions of Americans.
"These include 150,000 Americans per month who would have had a new cancer detected through routine screening that hasn't happened, millions who have missed routine dental care to fix problems strongly linked to heart disease/death, and preventable cases of stroke, heart attack, and child abuse. Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%," the letter goes on.
The doctors say that tens of millions of Americans have other problems that, while not immediately life-threatening, may become life-threatening in the future. The letter notes the increased sales of alcohol and cigarettes, frayed family relationships and millions of missed well-checkups for children as negative consequence of the shutdown.
If economic conditions worsen, the doctors say hundreds of millions of Americans will be at risk, and they give examples from some of their patients.
One patient had her hip replacement surgery delayed, causing her to become sedentary and resulted in a pulmonary embolism. Another patient is deteriorating rapidly following a stroke in early March. The patient was expected to make a nearly-full recovery, but he's had no visitors and can't attend physical and speech therapy.
Another patient is a mother with two children whose husband was furloughed and her own hours reduced as a result of the shutdown. The mother is depressed and not managing her diabetes well. The father is drinking more. The children aren't keeping up with their schoolwork.
A college freshman is another patient who risks depression, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as future financial uncertainty.
"We are alarmed at what appears to be the lack of consideration for the future health of our patients," the doctors write. "The downstream health effects of deteriorating a level are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error. It is impossible to overstate the short, medium, and long-term harm to people’s health with a continued shutdown."
"The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight," the doctors warn, "but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse."
More than 600 doctors signed the letter.
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