A member of Joe Biden’s presidential transition team’s coronavirus task force suggests the nation needs another lockdown of four to six weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, who was tapped for the task force, said during an interview with Yahoo! Finance on Wednesday that a four to six-week shutdown could drive down infection numbers. He also suggests that the U.S. could borrow money to pay for it.
He referred to an op/ed he co-wrote with Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, in The New York Times in August.
“(W)hen you look at the personal savings rate in this country, it’s now gone from about 8 percent to over 22 percent, we have a big pool of money out there that we could borrow at the historic low-interest rates by the federal government. We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages: lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies, or city, state, county governments, we could do all of that,” Osterman said.
“If we did that, then we could lockdown for four to six weeks. And if we did that, we could drive the numbers down like they’ve done in Asia, like they did in New Zealand in Australia. And then we could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarters of next year and bringing back the economy long before that,” he added.
Another one of Biden’s task force members, Ezekiel Emmanuel, was a lead signer of a letter calling for another lockdown to “start over” and “do it right.”
During an interview with ABC News in August, Biden said that he would “follow the scientists” on whether or not to shut the country down. Newsweek reports that after his first briefing on COVID-19 this week, he will “everything possible to get COVID-19 under control.”