Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is James Barrett.
According to reports, the debate among administration officials and experts on the apparent lose-lose choice facing America - economy-crushing lockdown versus hospital-overwhelming viral spread - is resulting in some "clashes" behind the scenes between those calling for a quicker end to the mandated shutdowns and those who say doing so poses too great a risk.
President Trump has signaled in recent days that he is leaning toward "reopening" the economy more quickly than some medical experts are advising. "WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!"
Sunday. He followed up the post by promoting a similar message on Monday, suggesting that easing of some of the social-distancing mandates may be coming as early as next week.
And Trump is not alone in feeling that a prolonged shutdown is not sustainable. Even one of the more cautious of the medical minds, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, has likewise stressed the point in a recent interview
, saying, "If you knock down the economy completely and disrupt infrastructure, you may be causing health issues, unintended consequences, for people who need to be able to get to places and can't."
"There is a discussion and a delicate balance about what's the overall impact of shutting everything down completely for an indefinite period of time,"
Fauci told Science on Sunday.
That discussion, Politico
reported Monday, is quickly becoming a "clash" between "public health experts and economic officials about when to lift social distancing measures."
"Rattled health officials are trying to fight off ascendant voices around Donald Trump pressing the president to restart the economy as soon as Monday to stem severe business and job losses,"
Politico reports. "The prospect of resuming typical business so soon has horrified these public health leaders, who see the debate as premature amid a crisis that the administration is just beginning to wrangle, according to eight people with knowledge of the administration's discussions about its coronavirus guidelines."
The economic argument from some health experts, Politico explains, is that the fallout will ultimately be worse if we lift the lockdowns too soon and the virus "resurface[s] weeks or months from now."
"The government, they argue, has yet to definitively answer key questions that would dictate how to reactivate the economy: Do those who recover from coronavirus become immune? How do underlying health conditions affect the severity of the virus? And, most important, how widely has it spread?"
the outlet reports.
One expert, a former top health official for the Obama administration, advised that we "double down, not lighten up, on social distancing and related measures."
Others, however, point to the impact on the economy that threatens to drive the unemployment rate to 30% or more as simply too devastating to maintain much longer. For that reason, Politico's sources say that a "growing faction" of White House officials are leaning, like Trump, toward a more rapid return to economic activity, potentially in the form of lifting social-distancing measures in less impacted areas.
Politico quotes Stephen Moore, who's in contact with the Trump administration as an informal economic adviser, as describing a prolonged shutdown as "clearly" not an option. "What is clearly not a viable option is to keep the economy shut down for the next seven to 10 weeks,"
he told the outlet. "People will lose their life savings, and the unemployment rate will go to 35 percent."
As The Daily Wire
reported Monday, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted Sunday that the lockdowns will result in the U.S. unemployment rate potentially reaching as high as 30% in the second quarter while GDP could drop as much as 50%. "This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the U.S. economy in the second quarter,"
Bullard said Sunday. "The overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole,"
he explained. "It is a huge shock and we are trying to cope with it and keep it under control."
Bullard, however, also predicted a "transition" quarter in quarter 3 and "boom quarters" in quarter 4 of this year and quarter 1 of the next.
While Fauci is advocating for maintaining drastic social-distancing measures, he has also stressed that officials must maintain the right balance, taking into account the different threats of spread in various regions. "When you get a place like New York or Washington or California, you have got to ratchet it up,"
Science Sunday. "But it is felt - and it isn't me only speaking, it's a bunch of people who make the decisions-that if you lock down everything now, you're going to crash the whole society. So, you do what you can do, as best as you can. Do as much physical separation as you can and ratchet it up at the places you know are at highest risk."