A four-to-six-week lockdown could drive down the US' surging Covid-19 cases, if the government covered lost wages and small business losses, a member of President-elect Biden’s transition coronavirus advisory board has said.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, suggested the idea in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.
Osterholm said that the personal savings rate in the US had increased, and there was “a big pool of money out there” which could be borrowed at historic low interest rates by the federal government.
“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individuals workers, for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies," Osterholm said. "For cities, states, county governments, we can do all of that."
If we did that then we could lock down for four to six weeks and if we did that, we could drive the numbers down. Like they’ve done in Asia. Like they did in New Zealand and Australia," he added.
If this happened, “then we could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year and bringing back the economy long before that."
US cases hit 10 million on Tuesday, with infection rates still rising in many states.
CNN is tracking the spread of Covid-19 across the US here: