Saving the economy versus stopping the virus

Despite a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the US, President Trump has said he wants to ease the social distancing measures soon, arguing that a recession would kill more people than the Covid-19 pandemic. "We can't let the cure be worse than the problem," he said in an interview with TV channel Fox News. Is he right?

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The Times (GB) /

Recession is far worse

President Trump is right, the Times believes:

“Rising unemployment is associated with a sharp rise in depression, suicide, addiction. Crime increases. In America's gun-loving society, how many will die by violence as the desperation intensifies? ... A deep hole in the economy will undermine America's strength in the world. You don't have to be an insane conspiracy theorist to think that the balance of relations between Washington and Beijing will be irrevocably changed by the economic response to an epidemic ... We can't trade human lives for jobs, the critics cry. But cruelly, we make such trade-offs all the time.”

Der Spiegel (DE) /

Doesn't even make economic sense

Easing the measures anytime soon is not an alternative, Der Spiegel explains:

“The exponential spread of the virus would cause health systems to rapidly collapse. Not only corona patients would die for lack of ventilators, but many other seriously ill patients as well - people who have had a stroke or a heart attack, for example - whom the clinics could not care for due to the huge numbers of corona patients. The bottom line is that this could kill many millions. It would be ethically indefensible - and, incidentally, economically unfeasible as well. For in such a scenario the economy is also likely to suffer massive damage.”