A congressman in the US has said that he would be willing to let more Americans die if it would minimise damage to the economy.
Around the world, coronavirus lockdown measures and stay-at-home orders are causing significant economic losses. The congressman in question is Republican Representative Trey Hollingsworth from Indiana, who told a radio station in Indianapolis that letting more people die would be the lesser of two evils.
He suggested that policymakers should put on their “big boy and big girl pants” and do what is necessary.
He said that the American government should pick preserving “way of life as Americans” over the loss of American lives. His rationale was that the impact of social distancing and stay-at-home orders in the US was causing too much economic damage and that people should be getting back to work.
In the US, government authority over lockdown measures is often set at the state level. Governors and politicians in other states, such as Texas, have made similar comments about ending lockdown early. Texas’ governor Dan Patrick suggested that elderly populations should be willing to die in order to get back to life as normal.
President Donald Trump has also publicly said he wants to get people back into work, and that the US is testing more than any country in the world.
Other representatives pointed out that his logic was flawed and asked whether Hollingsworth had checked with the people he knew about whether they were willing to die for the economy.
However, medical experts have emphasised that ending lockdown early could lead to more preventable deaths, and would potentially create a new wave of Covid-19 infections.