It’s Time for Trump’s Top Doctors to Step Down and Speak Up

Dear Colleagues, I certainly don’t need to tell any of you how unprecedented and difficult these past eight months have been. As I write this, more than 7.5 million Americans have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The tragedy of what the country has been through is what you all have been living non-stop. Most tragic, of course, are the 215,000 deaths of our fellow citizens from this scourge. I am sure that not a day goes by without you hoping, wishing you could have done more—and could do more—to totally shut down the COVID-19 pandemic.

You are working for a president who is a pathologic, unrepentant liar on matters big and small and defiantly uninformed about virtually every aspect of what it takes to understand and manage this terrible public health crisis. Donald Trump has mocked the basic principles of infection control that all of you know to be true! And, behind closed doors, I find it hard to believe you would disagree with the assertion that the president may be one of the most flagrant coronavirus super-spreaders on the planet.

I write to you not as a casual observer of the global crisis that has overtaken so much of our national discourse, but as a fellow physician who has been involved in disaster response for decades, wrote a book in 2006 about why a pandemic was inevitable and how to prepare for one, and who knows many of you personally and all of you by reputation. With all due respect for your work: It’s past time to step down and speak out.

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