Anything to protect the stock market: Fox News rallies around the idea that social distancing is worse than COVID-19

Fox News pundits and the president himself are arguing that the “cure” that will decrease the spread of COVID-19 — shutting down non-essential workplaces and demanding people shelter inside their homes for long enough to suppress the virus — is somehow worse than the “disease” of the novel coronavirus due to its harsh impact on the economy. This is just from the past few days:

Fox pundits and even a news anchor on Saturday shared a since-debunked Medium piece written by a Republican activist making a similar point.

As MSNBC host Chris Hayes noted in a Twitter thread, there are several faults within conservatives' line of reasoning.

The backlash against increasingly-strict social distancing measures and the potential for mass quarantines arose after a dire report from Imperial College London. As the NY Times notes, “Imperial is treated as a sort of gold standard, its mathematical models feeding directly into government policies.”. 

The report projects that up to 2.2 million Americans could die as a result of the spread of the novel coronavirus without such measures.