Social distancing rules may be relaxed sometime soon to prevent “tremendous death” from the economic depression that could end up worse than the coronavirus itself, President Donald Trump said. But even a few more weeks of closures will almost certainly usher in an economic depression and the suicides that come with it.
The 2008 Great Recession resulted in more than 10,000 suicides. If the economy is “closed for business” much longer, that number could be dwarfed by the number of people who can no longer survive without a livelihood. “People get tremendous anxiety and depression and you have suicide over things like this, when you have a terrible economy, you have death,” President Donald Trump said Monday at the White House daily press briefing according to a report by RT. Trump added that those suicides would “definitely be in far greater numbers than we’re talking about with regard to the virus.”
President Trump on economy: "We can't turn that off and think it's going to be wonderful. There'll be tremendous repercussions. There will be tremendous death…probably more death from that than anything that we're talking about with respect to the virus." pic.twitter.com/82WEb4HJ8z
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 23, 2020
At this point, we are simply swapping some deaths or others. The bottom line is that people don’t have lives if they don’t have livelihoods and the chance to live out their dreams in freedom. Trump did say that all of the lockdowns will “end very soon.” Some reports show, however, that it could be Easter before the government allows us to have our illusion of freedom back.
“This was a medical problem, we’re not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem,” he added, urging Congress to pass the $2 trillion stimulus bill urgently and without partisan politicking, as workers and employees across the U.S. were hurting from lockdowns and quarantines. Although this is already a financial problem for many, as many of the businesses that closed during the lockdown will never reopen, their owners and employees losing their livelihoods for the foreseeable future. That’s hardly a solution. The U.S. economy was not meant to shut down, and the longer it is, the greater the impact will be.
Trump said the administration’s thinking had evolved due to receiving better numbers on the mortality rate from COVID-19, which was initially thought to be at five percent, but now seems to be much lower, below one percent.
Trump added that he was not considering further travel bans, whether on entry into the U.S. or on moving between the states. He also noted that even when things get back to a semblance of normalcy, there would be tradeoffs in behavior after “the invisible scourge” of the virus is gone.