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President Donald Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro touted the good news on the horizon in the battle with the coronavirus crisis but weighed in on the revised death estimate.
The senior Trump adviser spoke to Fox News Monday about the efforts to restart the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic and contended that strict and prolonged lockdowns can be responsible for indirectly killing Americans.
(Source: Fox News)
“We’re finally going to start getting everything back into gear, and that’s all to the good,” Navarro said on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom.”
Co-host Ed Henry acknowledged the optimistic outlook but pressed Navarro on how Trump revised the death estimate “upward to somewhere around 100,000 people” during a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday.
“We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” Trump told Fox News moderators, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, calling it a “horrible” situation. The number was an increase from the president’s estimate of 60,000 deaths last month.
“That, obviously, gets people wondering why he’s saying, you know, concern about where we’re headed at the same time that there’s this good news happening, that we’re reopening parts of the economy,” Henry said. “So my question really is, how do you square that, that we’re revising the death estimate upwards, even as we’re trying to get things going?”
“The original death estimate was about 2 million Americans dying in the absence of any kind of mitigation or containment,” Navarro responded.
“And the president took the very tough choice of entering into a mitigation phase and a containment phase. It was a manufactured recession that we face. And the estimates would basically take that down to 100,000 to 200,000 deaths,” he added.
“We know what the numbers are today. We’re — we’re just moving through time. We’re trying to simultaneously protect the American people from the effects of the China virus, killing them directly, but it’s also true that the lockdown indirectly kills Americans through the economic effects with higher suicide rates, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, and all that,” Navarro explained, adding that it is “the most difficult decision that a president’s ever had to make.”
“But, today, yes, I think it’s important to have a little bit of optimism here on a spring day as we try to get back to work,” Navarro reiterated.
Co-host Sandra Smith noted that the U.S. death toll revision was a “standout headline” before asking the trade adviser about plans moving forward with the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the end of the year.
“My mission here at the White House during this — the crisis has simply been, make sure that the American people have the personal protective equipment they may need, as well as to set in motion all the things we need to make sure they have the medicines as well. So that’s where my focus has been on,” Navarro replied.
“With respect to the vaccine development, the traditional medicine community historically has said it takes two to three years to develop a vaccine. If you go back and look, a clip of me several months ago, I said, we could do it faster in Trump time. I believe that’s true,” he added.
Speaking on the future of the China trade deal, Navarro criticized the communist government’s initial handling of the outbreak which originated in Wuhan, and the subsequent way China “hoarded an enormous amount of personal protective gear.”
“Those are the bigger issues around this context of what may or may not happen with the trade deal. And I do think at this point that’s a much bigger issue. It’s, what did China know, when did they know it?” he said. “I mean it’s a tawdry little thing.”