Republican Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth said Tuesday that letting more Americans die from the novel coronavirus is the “lesser of two evils” compared with the destruction of the U.S. economy due to strict social distancing measures implemented last month to reduce the loss of life, reports CNN.
Speaking with radio station WIBC in Indiana, Hollingsworth asserted that there is no “zero-harm” option when it comes to deciding when and how to reopen the American economy.
“Both of these decisions will lead to harm for individuals, whether that’s dramatic economic harm or whether that’s the loss of life,” he said. “But 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.”
The Indiana lawmaker said that the decision that would do the most good for the most people would be to “get Americans back to work.”
He added that no “amount of legislation out of D.C.” is going to fix the crisis.
“The social scientists are telling us about the economic disaster that is going on. Our (Gross Domestic Product) is supposed to be down 20% alone this quarter,” Hollingsworth said. “It is policymakers’ decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say it is the lesser of these two evils. It is not zero evil, but it is the lesser of these two evils and we intend to move forward that direction.”
“That is our responsibility, and to abdicate that is to insult the Americans that voted us into office,” he added.
Public health experts have warned that relaxing social distancing measures too soon could lead to a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNN last month, “You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”
“It’s hyperbolic to say that the only choices before us are the two corner solutions: no economy or widespread casualties,” Hollingsworth told The Hill. “We can use the best of biology and economics to enable as much of the economy to operate as possible while we work to minimize disease transmission.”
Indiana has reported 8,527 positive cases and 387 deaths from the coronavirus, according to the state health department.