An Indiana congressman said Tuesday that letting more Americans die from the new coronavirus is “the lesser of two evils” compared to the economic crisis caused by social distancing.
Speaking with WIBC radio station in Indiana, Republican representative Trey Hollingsworth said that, even if he appreciated the science behind the spread of the virus, “it is still the position of the United States government to say, in the choice between the loss of our American way of life and loss of life, American life, we must always choose the latter. “
“Social scientists tell us about the economic disaster that is happening. Our (gross domestic product) is expected to drop only 20% this quarter, ”said Hollingsworth. “It is the decision of policy makers to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say it is the lesser of these two evils. It is not zero harm, but it is the lesser of these two evils and we intend to move in that direction. It is our responsibility and to abdicate it is to insult the Americans who elected us. “
Hollingsworth told CNN in a statement provided by his office last Tuesday, “It is hyperbolic to say that the only options open to us are two-fold solutions: no savings or many victims” .
“We can use the best of biology and economics to keep as many economies as possible working while we work to minimize the spread of disease.”
Relaxing social distancing measures now would contradict the recommendations of government agencies and public health experts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have encouraged social distancing – defined as “staying out of places where people meet or congregate” and “avoiding local public transportation” – even for those who have no symptoms of the virus as a way to slow the spread of the disease.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s foremost infectious disease expert, told CNN last month: “You don’t make the chronology, the virus makes the chronology. “
Still, Hollingsworth’s comments echo a growing desire by some Republicans – including President Donald Trump – to start relaxing the directives that shut down businesses and kept workers at home.
Trump said on Monday that he would “soon” issue directives to governors on how to reopen the economy. The president downplayed the need to improve the availability of tests in order to reopen the country.
“We are considering a date,” he said earlier this month. “We hope we will be able to meet a certain date, but we don’t do anything until we know this country is going to be healthy. “