Washington, Nov 12: Shutting down businesses and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks could help keep the coronavirus pandemic in check and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden.
Osterholm, who serves as director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said earlier this week that the country is headed toward “COVID hell.” Cases are rising as more people grow tired of wearing masks and social distancing, suffering from so-called “pandemic fatigue,” he said Wednesday. Colder weather is also driving people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.
A nationwide lockdown would drive the number of new cases and hospitalizations down to manageable levels while the world awaits a vaccine, he told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.
“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,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks.”