Trump persists in claiming that the “shutdown” will kill more people. It won’t, despite the logical fallacy of associating the current death rate with curtailing economic activity.
Q Mr. President, when you talk about — back to the numbers for a second. When you talk about the numbers — the jobless claims are going to come out tomorrow. It’s likely around 5 million more Americans putting their names in for unemployment benefits. But yet, there are still a couple thousand people, as well, dying a day because of coronavirus.
When you talk about opening up the American economy — or at least in parts — now, how do you balance that decision out, given both of those figures?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we are. There has to be a balance. You know, there’s also death involved in keeping it closed. And I’ve gone over this with you, and I believe this so strongly. When you look at mental health, when you look at suicides; suicide hotlines, which are exploding; people losing their jobs. When you look at drugs, and people that didn’t take drugs and now they’re becoming drug addicted because they’re going through a problem. They have no job. They have no money coming in — other than the money we’re getting them. We’ve opened up the coffers to a large extent. We’re helping people.
This is why I wish the Democrats would help us a little bit with it, because they should. It’s purely partisan what they’re doing, and it’s bad for our country. But — but, you know, there is death by doing — by having this strongly closed country. We have to get back to work.
Opinion: I'm an economist and I can tell you Trump is lying – keeping the lockdown won't kill more people than coronavirus https://t.co/7wxZ9F5NxR— The Independent (@Independent) April 16, 2020
Never at a loss for words, or half-thought-out arguments, titans of the American right from President Donald Trump to Senator Ted Cruz have latched on to a doozy: You have to reopen the economy despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, quickly, lest a wave of suicides, domestic battery and the like overwhelm even the death toll from coronavirus.“That’s gonna cost real lives,” Cruz said in an interview. “Our objective should be to save lives, and that means we need to fight this pandemic and get people back to work.’’
Apparently, the schools where Trump and Cruz studied math have been closed for longer than the 34-day stretch of distance learning we’re soldiering through where I live.
Yesterday, coronavirus killed 2,763 Americans, according to Worldometer. On average, in the US 129 people take their lives each day — almost half using guns that are more lightly regulated in America than basically anywhere on earth. Domestic violence, as unacceptable and pervasive as it is, killed 2,237 in 2017. Again, guns are a major culprit — and Cruz’s opposition to closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole” in the Violence Against Women Act to prevent domestic abusers from owning firearms makes him come to that discussion with unclean hands.
And in the days of coronavirus, we’re all sticklers for clean hands.
The argument that the economic cost of quarantining to stop Covid-19 is too high has already outlived its usefulness. A month ago, when the death toll was only 23, you could make it with a straight face. Thursday’s news that 5.4 million people filed for unemployment insurance last week is a big number — and the 22.03 million who have filed in the last four weeks is even bigger. No doubt about it.
But 2,763 people a day dying is a huge number. A massive number.
Fox is now bringing on guests to argue that the shutdown will kill more people than it will help. pic.twitter.com/4FM20QJo7V— nikki mccann screamírez 👻 (@NikkiMcR) April 15, 2020
TRUMP IGNORED A “BLACK SWAN” WARNING FROM THE ARMY
TRUMP DISMISSED A CDC REPORT SHOWING AMERICA UNPREPARED FOR THE NEXT PANDEMIC
TRUMP FAILED TO FOLLOW PLAYBOOK ON HOW TO HANDLE PANDEMICS
TRUMP SHRUGGED OFF HIS OWN TEAM’S FAILURE IN A SIMULATED PANDEMIC
TRUMP SCRAPPED THE ANNUAL DHS REVIEW OF PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS
TRUMP BLEW OFF A WARNING FROM A SIMULATION THAT CAME JUST LAST FALL
Wow. Epidemiologists estimate that if social distancing had started even one week earlier, it could have saved the lives of thirty-seven thousand people, sixty per cent of those expected to die.— Evan Osnos (@eosnos) April 15, 2020
No one who says some people dying is a 'tradeoff' that needs to be made to 're-open' the economy should be taken seriously until they themselves are on record saying they're willing to sacrifice their own lives, their kids' lives, etc, for the sake of the economy.— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) April 16, 2020
DR OZ: "Schools are a very appetizing opportunity. I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3%, in terms of total mortality. Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but … that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider." 😳 pic.twitter.com/aifMeKTsIv— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 16, 2020