Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," Harvard health expert Dr. Ashish Jha poured cold water on plans by Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) to rush workers back to their jobs during the COVID-19 health crisis at a time when a major meatpacking plant in her state has been designated a coronavirus "hot-spot."
In a word, he called her desire to get back to normal "simplistic."
After watching a clip of the Republican governor defending her decision to keep the state open, host Reid asked Jah what he thought getting workers back.
"I understand business-friendly, but it's hard to run businesses when you have workers getting sick and dying," he began. "What we need to understand is that if you want to be business-friendly, you have to be health-friendly first. If we can protect people's public health, we can put in the things that keep workers safe and healthy. We can get back to business when it's appropriate, but to try to just keep going, as though the pandemic doesn't exist is obviously going to end up causing a lot of business harm and I think more importantly harming more people, particularly folks who don't have a lot of reserve. It's simplistic that somehow you can choose business over people's health."
"That would be great," he began when asked about testing. "I would imagine if we had like ramped up our testing infrastructure the way South Korea did, the way that Germany has, we would have so many more options. We could keep plants open, we test people and just make sure that as long as people didn't have the infection they could come in."
"In very cramped quarters in plants like this, it's very hard for even one infected person to not set off a whole chain of infections," he added. "There are still things you can do: give people sick leave, a lot of things you can do to make this situation better. We just didn't, and we see the consequences of that and it's very unfortunate."