(AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Rep. Harley Rouda would like to see stay-at-home orders in all 50 states to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the economy can open back up as soon as possible.

Rouda sent a letter to the National Governors Association this week, urging officials to take critical measures to slow down and stop the spread of the coronavirus. The only way to return to normalcy and rebuild the economy quickly, Rouda wrote, is to first slow the spread of the virus.

He noted that the U.S has not been placed under a nationwide stay-at-home order, unlike many European countries that have taken serious measures to slow the virus within their borders. 

“Without treatments and a vaccine, aggressive and enforced social distancing is our only means to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save American lives,” he wrote. 

Rouda said many states, like California, Oregon, Michigan and Connecticut, have already issued stay-at-home orders, covering about half of the nation’s population. But, he wrote, “mitigation is most effective with 100% participation.”

He said without drastic measures the pandemic has the potential to overburden medical facilities, cause significant deaths and have a major impact on the economy.

“We believe instituting stay-at-home orders nationwide is the best way to reduce the spread of this disease while maintaining flexibility for residents to access essential services such as grocery stores, good banks, take-out and delivery restaurants, pharmacies, health care facilities, gas stations and laundromats and keeping critical infrastructure sectors open including businesses and contractors that are involved in vital supply chains,” Rouda wrote in the letter.

Rouda said a national shut-down would have a major impact on people’s daily lives and the national economy but only temporarily. And mitigating the pandemic faster could actually help the economy improve at a faster rate.

“We believe that it is the only way we can slow the spread of COVID-19, ensure our healthcare system is equipped to handle this outbreak and minimize long-term, devastating harm to our economy,” he wrote. “Expanding these stay-at-home orders nationwide will save lives and accelerate a return to normalcy.”