When far-right extremists complain that stay-at-home orders and aggressive social distancing measures are hurting the U.S. economically, some Democratic governors and pundits have responded — correctly so — that prematurely letting up on social distancing and increasing the number of coronavirus fatalities will harm the economy even more. And Dr. Anthony Fauci, the 79-year-old expert immunologist who is part of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, is making that type of argument in response to anti-shutdown rallies and protests that are taking place across the United States.
Those rallies feature protestors standing close to each other in blatant defiance of social distancing. Fauci, during a Monday morning, April 20 appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning, America,” warned that by promoting the spread of COVID-19, they are hurting the economy — not helping it.
“Clearly, this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics and the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus,” Fauci asserted. “But unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen.”
A Politico/Morning Consult poll, released on April 15, found that 81% of respondents believe the U.S. should “continue to social distance for as long as is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus.” So, the protestors are in the minority. But even so, they could cost people their lives — and hurt the economy — by promoting the spread of coronanavirus.
Fauci, on “Good Morning, America,” warned, “What you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back. So, as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening, it’s going to backfire. That’s the problem.”