Lina Abujamra, a pediatric ER doctor, said Thursday she believes it’s time for the country to begin to “phase back into normalcy.” The Christian doctor’s comments come as several states — including Georgia, Colorado, Texas, and Florida — are beginning to ease coronavirus-related restrictions.
Abujamra shared her perspective in a short video responding to two urgent care doctors from Bakersfield, California, who were plucked out of relative obscurity after they held a press conference earlier this month, urging state governors to lift their respective shelter-in-place orders, claiming the threat of the novel coronavirus no longer dictated such restrictive measures.
The video quickly gained traction, spreading like wildfire on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. But what Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi were saying went against the grain of conventional wisdom, so YouTube pulled the video from its platform. In a statement issued to KERO-TV after facing intense scrutiny for the censorship, YouTube said the video violated its “community guidelines” because its content “explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority.”
Erickson and Massihi, co-owners of Accelerated Urgent Care, argued their anecdotal experience with some 5,000 patients revealed it’s “time to get back to work.” Asked if shelter-in-place orders need to be extended, Erickson said, “Our answer is emphatically, ‘No.’” He also said businesses should begin re-opening.
The video garnered so much attention, even Tesla founder Elon Musk shared the clip, noting the doctors made “good points.”
So after receiving a lot of questions about the doctors’ recent press conference, Abujamra offered her thoughts on the matter.
She pointed out that the anecdotal data Erickson and Massihi shared is “biased,” because their sample size was relatively small and they have a financial interested in expanding testing, which they argued is integral to lifting shelter-in-place orders.
Abujamra said she “discredited [the video] pretty quickly.”
However, the ER doctor did say she agrees, at least in part, with the conclusion the physicians reached, despite having issues with the data they used to make their case.
“I want to reach the conclusion that they reach,” she explained. “In fact, I really sort of think that social distancing needs to be maintained, but not in a shelter-in-place atmosphere anymore.”
“I think it’s time for us to phase back into normalcy,” continued Abujamra. “I believe that that’s where the weight is right now — trying to come up with a plan of reintegrating work and businesses into real life. But to force a conversation based on data that, frankly, is laughable is not the way to do it.”
The Chicago-based doctor went on to say the data Erickson and Massihi used “discredits” what could have been a valid argument.
As Christians, Abujamra concluded, “our big job is to support our leaders by praying for them, asking for wisdom, speaking up in venues that make sense, and doing it in a way that is intelligent and that will make a difference in the long run.”