Kevin Cramer suggested only the 'most vulnerable' of becoming infected should stay home while everyone else goes back to work.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) suggested on Wednesday that the economy be reopened with the "less vulnerable" people running the country and the "most vulnerable" staying home. He then falsely claimed that the vast majority of Americans are invulnerable to COVID-19.
"What we ought to be doing... do everything we can to protect the vulnerable citizens in our country and let the less-vulnerable citizens run the country," he told Fox Business Network. "I don't mean govern it: Run the economy, go to work, go to school."
"It's pretty clear that there's a vulnerable population to this disease and it's pretty clear that there's a large, vast majority of the population that isn't vulnerable to it," he added, claiming that the vulnerable could be protected with "information."
Public health experts have strongly advised against reopening too early because it will worsen the crisis.
"My concern that if some areas — cities, states or what have you — jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up, without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top epidemiologist, told Congress on Tuesday.
"The early lesson that was learned, really, we learned from the island of Hokkaido in Japan, where they did a really good job of controlling the initial phase of the outbreak," Bob Bednarczyk, a professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health told NPR on Saturday. After they lifted restrictions, he noted, the island saw a second wave of new cases and deaths.
The medical community is still learning about the short-term and long-term damage the coronavirus does to the body. "We don't know why there are so many disease presentations," virologist Angela Rasmussen of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health told the Washington Post on Sunday. "Bottom line, this is just so new that there's a lot we don't know." Doctors are also still discovering new ways COVID-19 can cause serious illness in children.
According to the CDC, more than 1,400 Americans under the age of 45 have already died from COVID-19.
Cramer's comments come as the GOP pushes to reopen the country, often making insensitive comments about the people who might be impacted.
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) mocked public health experts warning about reopening too quickly, saying this week, "We're safer if we're not born. We're safer from death if we're not born, right? I mean, the bottom line is there's some element of risk."
Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) said last month that ending social distancing could lead to more deaths, but that, "it is always the American government's position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life of American lives, we have to always choose the latter.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested in March that grandparents should sacrifice themselves to save the economy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.