Dr. Michael Osterholm, who is a member of Joe Biden's newly announced coronavirus task force, said on Tuesday to MSNBC that the United States must go back into a lockdown to get COVID-19 cases under control.
"Can you see a scenario around the corner, perhaps, in this winter where there’s some form of a national lockdown, maybe like one we’re seeing in Europe, where the schools stay open or some form of a lockdown if this gets bad enough?" MSNBC host Willie Geist asked.
"Well, first of all, if you interview 50 people, you can get 75 different definitions of what a lockdown is, okay, so let’s just be clear. I don’t think anybody knows what they’re talking about when they talk about a lockdown, myself included. In the first week of August, Neel Kashkari, the president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank and I wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times that basically said we need to, in the sense, lockdown to drive this infection level to a — a place where we can actually control it with testing and tracing and follow-up that way," Osterholm said.
Osterholm used countries like China, Australia, and New Zealand as examples of lockdowns the United States can implement with some modifications to decrease the number of COVID-19 cases.
"And what it would take, however, though, to really deal with the pain and suffering economically, is what we basically proposed, was because the savings rate in this country has gone out of the roof since the pandemic. We have gone from 8% to over 22%. We could borrow the money from ourselves at historically low-interest rates, we could pay people to lose their job, we can pay small businesses and take care of city, state, and county governments if we just elected to do that," he continued. "If Washington could get together and make that happen, that would be a very different kind of lockdown where people wouldn’t suffer and we can get this virus under control."
Osterholm further told CBS News that "We’re going to see, by far, the darkest days of this pandemic between now and next spring when the vaccine becomes available."