In a letter sent to Vice President Mike Pence as Chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force as well as to Governors across the United States, more than 550 physicians from all 50 states “urgently request that our country’s businesses and schools be allowed to reopen.” 89 non-physician medical professionals and 175 concerned citizens added their names to the letter in support of the physicians, for a total approaching 900 signatures collected in less than 5 days and the signature page keeps growing.
The letter was authored and the signature campaign was led by several concerned Texas physicians. “We were sharing a dialogue of these concerns with our Congressman Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21), who represents us at the national level, and felt called to share our boots-on-the-ground perspective with Vice President Pence and the COVID Task Force directly as well,” explains San Antonio ophthalmologist, Kristin Story Held, M.D. As we began circulating the letter, physicians across the country, especially from New York, New Jersey, Michigan, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania asked us to send a copy to their governors too.
Patient access to medical care has been devastated by the lockdown, the physicians write:
“Our patients have suffered needlessly in pain and physical decline with disease progression because of short-sighted government edicts to stop all non-emergency care that is unrelated to COVID19. Some patients now face inevitable death because the diagnosis and treatments were delayed too long.”
The letter continues: “The cumulative knowledge we now have of COVID-19 and the observed devastation of shutting down the economy gives us confidence to request that the American people be given the freedom to engage in commerce and community again immediately. Growing evidence indicates that the unprecedented policy of forcing healthy Americans to quarantine was not necessary to save lives but instead inflicted devastating harm on 10s of millions of people.”
Evidence-based research demonstrates that the lockdown is doing more harm than good: “This virus is survivable by greater than 99% of those infected. For those under 60, the estimated infection fatality rate is 0.05%. On average, the infection fatality rate is 0.2%,” explain the authors. That is 2 in 1,000.
Mandatory testing is also the wrong prescription, they state: “Mass testing of citizens should not be used to create policy that restricts an individual’s livelihood and freedom to participate in society, and absolutely should not be used to threaten businesses and counties with repeated closure.”
The physicians conclude: “We cannot accept the current dysfunction in society as the “new normal.” Our goal is to lead with hope and courage instead of fear and confusion. We want to help restore a renewed sense of purpose in our communities and allow people to pursue a livelihood and participate in music, sports, and art again. Our medical professionals are ready to serve this nation according to the time-honored Hippocratic Oath that calls us to serve with respect and compassion and, above all, to do no harm.”
Interested physicians are invited to add their name to the letter at: https://bit.ly/signpence.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943. Its motto is “omnia pro aegroto,” or “all for the patient.”