Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson said Thursday that America cannot wait for the eradication of the coronavirus before reopening because “our economy will be gone also.”
Carson, as a member of President Donald Trump’s economic task force, advocated for a path of balancing public safety with economic reality during an interview on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“It doesn’t mean that we have to wait [to reopen] until every vestige of the virus is gone. You know, common sense would dictate that if we wait until everything is gone our economy will be gone also.” (RELATED: Bill Barr Calls For End To ‘Draconian’ Coronavirus Restrictions On May 1)
Calling the pre-coronavirus crisis economy “incredibly strong,” Carson said the “the fundamentals, the underlying structure of our economy is very solid and very strong.”
Trump, who has said he has “total” authority to decide when to reopen the American economy, has called that decision the “biggest” he has ever had to make in his life.
“So what we want to do is we want to maintain that economy, bridge the gap, and that means that you’re going to have to infuse some significant federal funds. But we want to keep things going so that once the virus problem has been eliminated, we can go back,” the HUD secretary said.
But he noted that “there are risks, benefits and risks in everything and we have to weigh those things. That’s what a task force does,” adding that the challenge is to assess “the different variables,” medical, social and economic. (RELATED: Joe Scarborough: Trump Is ‘Yapping Like An Authoritarian Wannabe’ When He Says He Will Decide When Economy Reopens)
“We tried to give the president the kind of advice that would be beneficial in maintaining people’s health but also in maintaining — you know, their lifestyle.”
Chief medical adviser to the coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been noncommittal about whether it will be possible to resume normal economic activities on May 1, saying “the [COVID-19] virus kind of decides.”