A dozen Americans and counting have died from the Coronavirus, and there have been hundreds of confirmed cases all across the U.S. as testing has slowly but surely increased in scope. More cases may be on the way — a cruise ship was held off the California coast this week as officials tested individuals on the vessel for the virus. Right-wing CNBC commentator Rick Santelli — whose history with right-wing causes goes back to the beginning of the so-called Tea Party movement — evidently thinks the number of cases is not enough. During a television appearance this week, he suggested infecting “everybody” with the virus to get it “over” with.
To be clear — if every American got the Coronavirus, with the 3.4 percent mortality rate that the illness currently has according to the World Health Organization, more than 10 million Americans would die. Santelli’s reasoning? He’s worried about the stock market.
‘Of course, people are getting nervous. And listen, I’m not a doctor. All I know is, think about how the world would be if you tried to quarantine everybody because of the generic-type flu. Now I’m not saying this is the generic-type flu. But maybe we’d be just better off if we gave it to everybody, and then in a month it would be over because the mortality rate of this probably isn’t going to be any different if we did it that way than the long-term picture, but the difference is we’re wreaking havoc on global and domestic economies.’
This is absolutely horrifying.
Rick Santelli on @CNBC says we should consider giving coronavirus to everybody to just get it over with.
That way it won’t wreak so much havoc on the economy.
This is your brain on capitalism.pic.twitter.com/Uv5UYyKtxy
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) March 5, 2020
Economies can recover. Dead people can’t come back to life. That doesn’t seem to have fazed Santelli, who clearly prioritized a strong stock market.
Ironically, Trump himself has also proven quite concerned about the stock market, even as Americans suffer. Recently, he tweeted the easily debunked claim:
‘The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!’
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020
The virus is not under control, per se — cases are still growing. And as for the stock market, Dow Jones industrial average fell 970 points on Thursday alone. In other words, Trump’s raging assertions that those covering the crisis are just trying to make him look bad and everything is actually all fine and dandy are not paying off or proving true.
Across the globe, more than 3,000 people have died from the Coronavirus, and around 100,000 cases and counting have been reported. These figures have left business and government leaders scrambling for solutions (the vast majority of which have not come up with just killing millions off to get the whole thing over with, as Santelli suggested). In the U.S., Vice President Mike Pence is leading the White House virus response effort, although he’s not exactly well-poised to inspire trust — after all, he presided over an HIV outbreak while governor of Indiana that he exacerbated with public health infrastructure rollbacks. Most recently, Congress approved an around $8 billion emergency virus response spending package.