Fox News host Tucker Carlson questioned the arguments used by those who argue for a prolonged national shutdown during a Monday night “Tucker Carlson Tonight” monologue.
After earlier pointing out that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti predicts the “first in a series of lockdowns will go on until June,” Carlson quoted former Obama official Jason Furman predicting a “meaningful level of deliberate suppression of economic activity for the rest of the year.”
“It would be nice to know there’s a good reason for all this,” the Fox News host said earlier in the segment. “Everyone wants there to be. Yet the arguments for a prolonged national lockdown are starting to sound strained.”
Carlson questioned the contention of a Medium article that most people still remain uninfected by the virus:
“We don’t even know when the disease first arrived in the United States,” he said, referring to “informed speculation” that it could have been in the U.S. “since late November or December.” Given its transmissibility, the number of Americans infected during the time when nobody tried to quarantine people “could be enormous.”
The Fox News host listed several examples to bolster his case, citing researchers learning that the virus can be transmitted “merely by speaking.” These included residents of a Hong Kong apartment building who got infected through plumbing pipes and the fact that the Italian village of Lombardy tested 60 people who came to give blood and found 40 positive cases, all without symptoms.
“Keep in mind that Lombardy has been strictly locked down by government order since March 9, that’s almost a month ago,” Carlson said. “Yet about 70 percent of this group got it anyway.”
“It’s starting to look like the Coronavirus is more transmissible than we expected, or were told,” said Carlson. “The good news is, it also seems far less lethal overall. People are dying in large numbers. Not all of them are sick or old, and that’s terrifying to watch. But as the data trickle in, there’s evidence that many infected people aren’t sick.”
Iceland, for example, has tested “about five percent of all citizens,” and half of those “have been completely asymptomatic.”
“So given all this, what’s a wise response to this pandemic?” Carlson asked. Although historically “we have a pretty good idea that targeted quarantines work,” the U.S. “and many other countries instituted mass quarantines, in which governments shut down entire nations for long periods.”
“That’s never happened before,” said the Daily Caller co-founder. “A mass quarantine makes sense if you’re fairly certain it will prevent mass infection. But are we certain of that? Despite what you may hear on television, we are not certain of that still. In fact, there are some indications it hasn’t been as effective as we’d hoped it would be. Italy imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in Europe. Almost a month later, as we just told you, an overwhelming majority of at least one town had been infected with the virus anyway.” (RELATED: ‘We Should Never Let Someone Like That Run This Country’: Tucker Carlson Says Dr. Fauci’s Advice Could Lead To ‘National Suicide’)
In fact, the possibility of a real mass quarantine is impossible unless the government forces everyone to not buy food.
“People would starve to death,” he said. “Instead, the directive we’re living under is this: ‘stay home, except to buy food. The one place you can go is the supermarket, where, by the way, everyone else in the neighborhood has been this week.’ From an epidemiological standpoint, this is lunacy. If you wanted to infect an entire population, you’d encourage everyone in a specific zip code to meet regularly in one enclosed location. It doesn’t make sense. Authorities must know it doesn’t make sense, that’s obvious, but instead of changing course, or fine-tuning, they’re doubling down, hoping that vehemence will compensate for bad science.”
While people can go shopping and exercise, Carlson said, “Working is one activity we’ve decided should not be allowed.”
“We’ve decided that offices are somehow more dangerous than supermarkets, far more dangerous, though no one has bothered to explain how. The result: by some estimates, more 17 million Americans are unemployed right now. That’s the highest number in the history of this country. A year from now, we should think about this. How will we feel about all this, about our decisions in the face of this pandemic? Is there a single person who sincerely expects the coronavirus itself will hurt more people in the end than the damage we’re causing in our response to it? Probably not. Mass unemployment is almost certain to cause far more harm — including physical harm — to the average family than this disease.”
Carlson then contrasted the media and political response to coronavirus to the lack of empathy for the tens of thousands of Americans who have died from drug overdoses.
“Why is that?’ Carlson asked rhetorically. “Well, you know why: it’s not their peer group. It doesn’t seem real. They’re not that interested. The same thing is going on now. If the coronavirus shutdown was crushing college administrators or non-profit executives or green energy lobbyists, it would have ended last week. Instead, it’s mainly service workers and small business owners who’ve been hurt, and they’re not on television talking about what they’ve been through.”
“Once again, coronavirus is not the only bad thing that’s happening in America right now, horrifying as it is” Carlson concluded. “We should never minimize the danger of this pandemic, or minimize our obligation to respond to it wisely. We’ve been saying that on this show for months. No thoughtful person wants to reopen baseball stadiums tomorrow or book a cruise to Shanghai, but there has to be a more balanced course than the one we are on now. For most people, going to work cannot be more dangerous than buying produce at Safeway twice a week. And if it is more dangerous, tell us how it’s more dangerous, and be specific when you describe that. Otherwise, it’s time to start caring about the entire population. Healthy people are suffering badly too.”