Tom Bossert, who resigned from his governmental role in 2018, tweeted Thursday that there was “little value” to the travel restrictions confusingly announced by Trump during an Oval Office prime time speech the night before. Bossert described the curbs as a “poor use of time & energy.”
“Earlier, yes. Now, travel restrictions/screening are less useful,” he wrote. “We have nearly as much disease here in the US as the countries in Europe.”
The virus has infected more than 127,000 people worldwide. In the U.S., it has sickened more than 1,200 and killed 38. Trump on Wednesday announced the U.S. would impose a 30-day travel ban on noncitizens coming from most of Europe. The ban exempts the U.K. and Ireland, where Trump golf resorts are located.
Bossert suggested the Trump White House instead focus on “layered community mitigation measures” — which include social distancing — and warned it should happen “Now!”
In other tweets, Bossert named what he believed is “the biggest misunderstanding” about coronavirus interventions:
And he noted the irony of what could happen if the U.S. fails to implement “aggressive community interventions.”
Bossert last week ― in a column for The Washington Post titled “It’s now or never for the U.S. if it hopes to keep coronavirus from burning out of control” ― warned “time matters” and said officials “must pull the trigger on aggressive interventions” as “evidence of human-to-human transmission becomes clear in a community.”
“Two weeks of delay can mean the difference between success and failure,” he continued. “Public health experts learned this in 1918 when the Spanish flu killed 50 million to 100 million people around the globe. If we fail to take action, we will watch our health-care system be overwhelmed.”