Carilion doctor not optimistic southwest Virginia, rest of country can reopen by Easter

‘It’s gonna take more time than that’

ROANOKE, Va. – A Carilion Clinic doctor in Roanoke is not optimistic that southwest Virginia, or the rest of the country for that matter, can and will reopen by Easter.

Dr. Paul Skolnik is the Chair of Medicine and an infectious disease provider with Carilion Clinic. On Thursday, he said a timeframe of reopening businesses, schools and workplaces by Easter does not seem feasible.

Skolnik said, “Now is the time to contain this disease,” and noted that it’s going to take more time than what an Easter deadline would afford.

“...All the things we’re talking about, social distancing, hand-washing, and other methods, are gonna just take longer than that to flatten the curve, as it’s said, so we can decrease the numbers and make sure we can care for people properly. So, I think that(Easter)'s overly optimistic," Skolnik said.

In a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing on Tuesday, President Trump said he hoped to be able to ease guidelines and open things up in large sections of the country by Easter (April 12).

“I said earlier today that I hope we can do this by Easter...But our decision will be based on hard facts and data as to the opening," Trump said. "I’m also hopeful to have Americans working again by that Easter — that beautiful Easter day. But rest assured, every decision we make is grounded solely on the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens.”

For a full transcript of the President’s remarks during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on March 24, click here.

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