No Matter What Trump Decides to Tell You, Staying Home Saves Lives

A daily Covid-19 update from Andy Slavitt, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Andy Slavitt
Medium Coronavirus Blog
4 min readMar 24, 2020


Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Pulled from my daily COVID-19 updates on Twitter

Today I’ve been on the phone with both Democratic and Republican negotiators in the room. With several governors and a former presidential candidate on how to get people to #StayHome. Good and bad news came to me today, I will happily report the former and gently report the latter.

Democrats would say they can’t move forward because not enough money goes to states and people who need it the most. It may not be on our minds, but state budgets are going to be under strain. New York is talking at least a $7 billion deficit at least.

States have a lot of services they need to provide. Low income people will need to get many services. Republicans and Trump are more focused on declaring economic victory. Too early.

Dems are resisting the GOP bill because it excludes:

  • community-based nursing homes
  • community mental health providers
  • home health
  • group homes for individuals w disabilities
  • rape crises centers
  • community health centers

Several reporters called me very concerned that the Larry Kudlow argument is having an influence on Trump. Namely that more people will die from a bad economy than from the pandemic. I do understand the struggle, and the argument, but we can’t just say let’s end all this #StayHome on a specific day. It can only happen when we have sufficient community testing. Not the rosy version of our testing capability. But the actual ability. Tomorrow I’m calling lab companies to get a read on where they really are.

While Trump is rosy and economically focused (he just tried to get Dr. Burke to say life would get back to normal and she refused), governors have one mission: Save lives.

I’ve reported on efforts to get N95 masks to people through Project N95. We have had 1300 requests for 67 million N-95 masks. If you have masks, get on the site. Let me tell you about a few more efforts coming:

  • Covident is an effort to create more ICU capacity being led out of Stanford.
  • A ventilator company which makes a streamlined ventilator has offered to put its plans on line for manufacturers to produce.
  • Covidsitters was started by @SaraLederman and a number of others is now on 70 campuses to take care of child care needs of front line health care workers.
  • We are launching a national effort to support frontline health care workers with meals, gratitude & gift cards.
  • #RTCovidstatus is being launched for overwhelmed hospitals to identify their needs on
  • #StayHome is getting huge support from YouTube artists & leaders all over the country to make sure we don’t do what Rand Paul didn’t — not infect others people.

And there’s more. What do I call all this. I call it Our Response. Because what happens from here has more to do with our response then this virus.

I mentioned there was bad news today too. Our Lieutenant Governor in Minnesota, who is a good friend, lost her brother to Covid-19. Senator’ Klobuchar’s husband who is also a friend is now hospitalized with Covid-19:

As of the end of the week, NY expects to be out of ICU beds. Ships are coming, field hospitals are being built. Yet, I heard from a hospital in NY that they are making plans on how to decide as early as Next Monday how to decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t.

So a lot of things are happening in our response. Some things aren’t. Some things Trump pretends are happening but aren’t. But we are behind. If all of this activity began a month ago many lives would have been saved. And if we do our jobs this week and next, we will save lives.

It’s not about beating the virus. It’s about saving as many lives as possible. For every person you don’t infect, you save hundreds of people from being infected. Because each person you don’t infect won’t infect others and others and others.

Let’s let our PPE (personal protective equipment), our ventilators, our therapies, and our hospital rooms catch up to this virus by staying home. No matter what Trump decides to tell you. You will save lives.