Neel Kashkari, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, argued that it would be better for the economy if the United States instituted strict lockdown policies for a month to six weeks to stop the spread of the virus.
If the country cannot control the spread, “we’re going to have flare-ups, lockdowns and a very halting recovery with many more job losses and many more bankruptcies,” Mr. Kashkari said on the CBS program “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“If we were to lock down hard for a month or six weeks, we could get the case count down, so that our testing and our contact tracing was actually enough to control it,” he said. “If we don’t do that, and we have this raging virus spreading throughout the country with flare-ups and local lockdowns for the next year or two, which is entirely possible, we’re going to see many, many more business bankruptcies.”
He also said that given the low cost of issuing debt, the government has room to spend to support the American economy.
“Congress should use this opportunity to support the American people, and the American economy,” he said. “If we get the economy growing, we will be able to pay off the debt.”
His argument for a longer shutdown stands in contrast to others’ views. On the CNN program “State of the Union,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas defended his decision not to impose a statewide stay-at-home order earlier this year. Mr. Hutchinson emphasized the economic ramifications of extended shutdowns.
“We’ve got to take on two emergencies here,” he said. “One is our virus, the other is the economy.”
Its outbreak untamed, Melbourne, Australia, escalates a lockdown.
Officials in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, announced stricter measures on Sunday in an effort to stem a coronavirus outbreak that is raging despite a lockdown that began four weeks ago.