Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading voice on the White House coronavirus task force, called the stunning loss of 10 million American jobs in two weeks “inconvenient,” maintaining that the economic hit is a mere side effect of necessary COVID-19 precautions.
“This is inconvenient from an economic and a personal standpoint, but we just have to do it,” Fauci told host Savannah Guthrie, backing what is effectively a national 30-day stay-at-home order.
Dr. Fauci then suggested an upcoming extension of the federal stay-at-home order until there is a vaccine, which could take well over a year or potentially years.
The shutdown “is our major weapon against this virus right now,” he said. “We don’t have a vaccine that’s deployable. This is the only thing we have.”
“We can get through it if everybody really leans forward and pushes on that,” Dr. Fauci added.
The Department of Labor announced Thursday “the highest level” of jobless claims in the history of the United States.
“After 3.3 million people claimed unemployment two weeks ago, which was by far the largest number ever for the country, another 6.6 million filed for new unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total to nearly 10 million in just two weeks. The previous high was 695,000 in a week back in 1982,” The Daily Wire reported.
According to a release from the Department of Labor, COVID-19 and the federal response to the virus “continues to impact the number of initial claims.”
“Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus,” the summary reads. “States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.”
Over the weekend, the Trump administration announced the continuation of so-called “Slow the Spread” guidance, now tentatively set to end April 30, demolishing President Donald Trump’s initial goal of Easter Sunday as a possible start-up date for at least parts of the country.
Dr. Fauci told CNN on Monday that he “argued strongly” with the president to extend guidance until April 30.
“We felt that if we prematurely pulled back, we would only form an acceleration or rebound of something, which would put you behind where you were before, and that’s a reason why we argued strongly with the president that he not withdraw those guidelines,” the doctor told CNN’s “New Day,” The Hill reported. “And he did listen.”
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh criticized the uncertainty in a start-up date for the county Wednesday.
“We simply cannot — with no end in sight — go on like this,” Limbaugh argued. “We cannot be in the midst of this economy being shut down with no end in sight.”
“It’s not gonna work,” the host said. “Now, they can tell us, ‘Well, we think in two weeks we’ll be able to relax things,’ and then those two weeks go by and they can’t. They’ll say, ‘Oh, give us another two weeks,’ because they think that we can live with waiting an additional two weeks every two weeks.”
“This is inconvenient from an economic and a personal standpoint, but we just have to do it. (A national stay-at-home order) is our major weapon against this virus right now. We don’t have a vaccine that’s deployable. This is the only thing we have.” -Dr. Anthony Fauci pic.twitter.com/EdUv1ucqLn
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 2, 2020
Related: Rush Limbaugh: Shutdown Unsustainable; It’s Not ‘Lives Versus Money,’ It’s ‘Lives Versus Lives’