MADISON – Wisconsin’s efforts to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic plunged into chaos and uncertainty overnight because President Trump failed to implement a coherent, unified national strategy to fight the pandemic, Wisconsin physicians with the Committee to Protect Medicare said today. Wisconsin’s main strategy to reduce infections and protect public health was Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” shelter-in-place strategy, which Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Supreme Court overturned late on Wednesday.

“President Trump’s haste to reopen the economy without a safe, responsible and coherent strategy just sabotaged Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will endanger people’s lives,” said Dr. Raul Mendoza, MD, a pulmonologist in Green Bay. “President Trump had multiple opportunities to implement a national shelter-in-place order to maximize social distancing and reduce infections. He had multiple opportunities to fully implement the Defense Production Act to provide frontline health workers with the protective equipment and testing materials we need to fight COVID-19. Instead of listening to science and bringing people together, President Trump pursued actions that confused and divided people in the middle of a pandemic that has killed more than 80,000 Americans, including more than 420 Wisconsinites.”

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruling comes on the day the state saw an increase in positive COVID-19 cases and the state’s death toll reached 421. The ruling means Gov. Evers and the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature — which sides with Trump’s push to reopen the economy immediately — must find a common solution to reducing infections and protecting people, with an effective vaccine and treatment still months away. The ruling invalidating Gov. Evers’ “Safer at Home” order opens the possibility that local communities, even individual businesses, may adopt their own social distancing and other protective policies, if they do at all, creating mass confusion. Polling this week shows that Wisconsinites support Gov. Evers’ handling of the pandemic and trust him more than the Republican-controlled Legislature on when to reopen the economy.

Dr. Ann Helms, MD, a neurologist in Milwaukee, said: “Bending to partisan politics instead of listening to scientists will not keep Wisconsinites safe. Governor Evers’ ‘Safer at Home’ plan has flattened the curve. But we are still seeing transmission of COVID-19 cases now, like in the meat packing plants. This is the time to be careful to avoid another large surge in cases. Let’s open based on science and not on President Trump’s re-election plans.”

CTP Executive Director Dr. Rob Davidson, MD, an emergency physician in Michigan, said: “President Trump’s nonexistent strategy and his fact-free, knee-jerk responses to a highly contagious virus that has killed more than 81,000 people will only cause more suffering for Wisconsinites and all Americans. President Trump’s inaction is directly responsible for Wisconsin now facing a confusing patchwork of regulations that could change from community to community, even from block to block, with some communities and businesses likely not following any safety guidelines at all. When Americans need a unified, coherent strategy to protect people and beat back COVID-19, President Trump has only given us chaos and uncertainty that will put lives at risk and extend Americans’ economic suffering.”

About the Committee to Protect Medicare

The Committee to Protect Medicare is an advocacy organization made up of frontline doctors engaging in direct advocacy and communications in support of a stronger healthcare system in America. To learn more:

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