“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.”
Hollingsworth told CNN, in a statement provided by his office later Tuesday, that “It’s hyperbolic to say that the only choices before us are the two corner solutions: no economy or widespread casualties.”
“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.”
Relaxing social distancing measures now would contradict recommendations put forth by government agencies and public health experts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been urging social distancing — defined as “remaining out of places where people meet or gather” and “avoiding local public transportation” — even for those who don’t have any symptoms of the virus as a way to slow the spread of the disease.
Still, Hollingsworth’s comments echo a growing desire among some Republicans — including President Donald Trump — to begin to ease the guidelines that have shuttered businesses and kept workers at home.
“We’re looking at a date,” he said earlier this month. “We hope we’re going to be able to fulfill a certain date, but we’re not doing anything until we know that this country is going to be healthy.”