Disease & cureThe Debate over Ending Social Distancing to Save the Economy, Explained

Published 27 March 2020

“America will again, and soon, be open for business,” President Donald Trump said on Monday. “Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. A lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”
Ezra Klein writes in Vox that the cure, in this case, is social distancing, and the mass economic stoppage it forces. The problem is Covid-19, and the millions of deaths it could cause. On Tuesday, Trump accelerated his timeline. He said he’d like to see normalcy return by Easter Sunday, which is 12 April. “Wouldn’t it be great to have all the churches full?” he asked. “You’ll have packed churches all over our country.”
Public health experts reacted with horror. “But the question Trump is posing needs to be taken seriously,” Klein writes. “The costs of social distancing are tremendous. The economic forecasts now predict a GDP drop and an unemployment rate of Great Depression-level proportions. The human suffering that will be unleashed is real, and it is vicious.”