- Thirty-two prominent republican and democratic economists published a letter on Wednesday arguing that saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic is not in conflict with saving the economy.
- "Saving lives and saving the economy are not currently in conflict" The letter is.
- Signatories included ex-finance ministers and top economists who served the Obama, Bush and Clinton administration.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
A group of 32 prominent economists from both parties published a letter on Wednesday The argument that saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic does not conflict with saving the economy.
"Our main concern at the moment should be to slow the spread of this virus and equip our health care system to respond effectively," the letter said. "Saving lives and saving the economy are not currently in conflict. We will accelerate the return to robust economic activity by taking measures to curb the spread of the virus and save lives."
Economists called for measures that would alleviate the blow for businesses and individuals severely affected by the outbreak.
"This joint effort will enable more companies to get back on the job as soon as possible and minimize the severity of the economic hardship for the American people," the economists wrote in the letter.
The letter was published by the Economic Strategy Group, part of the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit think tank.
Signatories included ex-finance ministers, Fed chairs and top economists who served the past three presidential administrations.
Among them were Henry Paulson, Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush; Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary under Barack Obama; and Janet Yellen, former Federal Reserve Chair.
Another signatory was Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama presidency. He before Business Insider said that "an even bigger, sharper shutdown" would be a worthwhile investment that saves time.
The letter came after President Trump said on Tuesday he was ready to lift the social distancing guidelines and open the American economy in two weeks.
Public health experts, however, are calling for the guidelines on distancing beyond March 30 to be maintained to curb the spread of the virus. Relaxing these restrictions would only serve to accelerate the outbreak at a critical stage.
"I can't see that it will suddenly be over in the next week or two weeks. I don't think there is a chance for it," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert. said on Friday.
But Trump said he wants the country to "open up and only have Easter", which falls on April 12 – just 19 days away.