GOP congressman: Doctors should worry about the economy, not death tolls


Rep. Andy Biggs wants the economy reopened immediately, regardless of the effects on public health.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) wants to end forced social distancing immediately and reopen the economy. Asked Monday about doctors' warnings that this could make the COVID-19 crisis worse, Biggs said that they should focus more on the economy.

From an interview with Fox affiliate KSAZ in Phoenix:

KSAZ: Congressman, it seems like we're getting a real divide right now with a lot of people who are in favor or thinking like you are and saying, Let's go, let's get going again. But there a lot of people out there saying, No, you can't do this. What do you say the people who say, Let's listen to the doctors, let's stay shut down longer.


Rep. Andy Biggs: Let's let the doctors then come back and help revitalize the economy.


It isn't like we don't care, and we don't want to spread this in the community, but, I mean, I look at data every day. This past week we had a high of 266 known cases come in. Early last week, the next day 230, next day 190, next day 188.


The question that you have to ask yourself is, Is the cure harder on us than the disease itself? And is this going to be the new norm? We have everything from constitutional rights being abrogated to people losing jobs. And what about the pathologies that happen due to stresses when you lose your job, or you lose your life savings, or maybe you're watching your retirement and you see that it's basically wiped out due to the market?

The declining number of cases in Arizona each day can be seen as an indication that the state's stay-at-home order is reducing COVID-19's spread. Will Humble, director of the Arizona Public Health Association and a former head of the state's health department, told the Fox affiliate in Phoenix last week that the impending peak "shows social distancing is working" to flatten the curve and improve the state's situation.

Health and economics experts both say reopening too quickly could be harmful.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top epidemiologist, told ABC News on Monday that he understands that people are hurting economically, but warned, "Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery, economically, is not going to happen. If you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back."

And investors predicted last month that reopening the economy too quickly would hurt the stock market. Alex Merk of the firm Merk Investments told Reuters: "Markets will react badly because they have learned that this approach doesn’t work. From a medical point of view, you have to break the exponential growth and you do that with shelter in place policies."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.