Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, a couple of far-right Republican Congressmen have decided to stick their heads in the metaphorical sand and declare that social distancing demands laid down by the federal government in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus must be some kind of inappropriate conspiracy against the economy — or something. In a new opinion piece, Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Ken Buck (Colo.) criticize Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, who’ve both worked in public health for decades, for their supposedly outsized influence on the government’s Coronavirus response. The Congressmen glibly ignore the widespread projections of even higher than present death rates in the absence of the social distancing that Fauci and Birx have advocated for.
Biggs and Buck wrote:
‘For Fauci, is it merely a societal or economic inconvenience that about 17 million workers are unemployed because of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, with many more to come in the weeks and months ahead? The economic calamity lies largely with the origination of policies resulting from Fauci’s recommendations.’
Besides the lawmakers’ ignorance of the actual nature of Fauci’s recommendations, they also display a profoundly brazen ignorance of the nature of the stay-at-home orders across the country that have ground so much of the economy to a halt amidst attempts to stop the virus’s spread. Essentially the entirety of the binding orders have been handed down by state authorities, many of whom are themselves Republican. Fauci and Birx have not themselves decided on the federal guidelines that supplant these state orders; they have simply advised the president.
Biggs and Buck are boldly making up some kind of conspiratorial mayhem where there’s not actually anything nefarious. They seem to miss the fact that if hundreds of thousands of people die because social distancing lifts and the virus spreads — that’s probably itself going to have a pretty dismal impact on the economy!
‘The longer government-imposed lockdowns go on, the more people will lose their jobs — millions more. Thousands of businesses will close their doors. The physical and emotional toll from this self-imposed economic destruction will be worse than the doomsday prophets projected.’
Dr. Fauci is not a doomsday prophet — although this is actually quite a familiar sentiment from Republicans, who’ve also infamously and consistently dismissed scientific conclusions about climate change as some kind of doomsday prophecy or conspiracy. In fact, basic, duly documented reality is not a conspiracy against the Republicans. They’re just wrong, and their priorities are out of order, at best.
Trump has wavered on his own stance surrounding whether he’d listen to the science in deciding what to do about the Coronavirus.
For some time, he claimed that he’d try and have the economy going again by Easter, which would have been disastrous, as that coincides roughly with the virus peak. Current federal guidelines demanding social distancing are set to expire at the end of April, and it’s not currently clear what steps the White House might be taking next — too many variables remain, including the fact that Trump says he’s going to be relying on metrics in his, uh, mind to make his decisions.
Question: What metrics will you use to make that decision?
Trump while pointing to his head: The metrics right here. That’s my metrics. pic.twitter.com/SIbO5N6Bqx
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 10, 2020