Fox host: End restrictions “everywhere as quickly as possible” because COVID-19 is “only terrible for a very small group of people”

Deriding testing and contact tracing as “completely ridiculous,” Steve Hilton says we need to protect only the “vulnerable”

Video file

Citation From the April 24, 2020, edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.

STUART VARNEY (HOST): Protests there in California. We'll get to that in a moment. But first I want to bring in Steve Hilton with what I think is blockbuster, game-changing news. I know you've seen it, Steve. I'll repeat it. A study says in New York state, 3 million people have had the virus. In the New York City, it's 20% of the people. Look, to me, that's a game-changer because it brings down the fatality rate. It is a game-changer. Right?

STEVE HILTON (HOST, THE NEXT REVOLUTION): It is, Stuart. And it comes on the back of other research that proves the same point. We saw it in the Santa Clara study last week in California. In Los Angeles, California, where it shows that half a million people there have had it, roughly. And it's not just a game-changer in terms of the fatality rate, which shows us that it's much less deadly than previously thought.

It should also be a game-changer in how and when we open up because what it tells you is that the virus is much more widespread than we knew before, and therefore the groupthink that the establishment are pushing for how to open up, we hear it everywhere. “You can't open up until you have widespread testing and contact tracing." Now, that strategy works if you've got a small number of people and you can follow each case and isolate them and so on. But these results show we have millions of Americans who have the virus. The idea that you can test them all, trace their contacts, isolate everyone who has the virus, is totally ridiculous.

And that's why we've got to get rid of that groupthink, open up everywhere as quickly as possible while doing a very important thing: protecting the vulnerable. It's still a very dangerous disease for very, very vulnerable people. Those are the ones we should be focused on.

VARNEY: But it should also reduce the anxiety level, shouldn't it? After all, if millions of us have got it and most of us didn't know we'd got it, it didn't hurt us, surely we have less anxiety about going back into society, right? 

HILTON: That is such a crucial point. You've got it, Stuart, because even if the decision-makers, the governors and the mayors, took the sensible advice that I think we are putting out there this morning which is that you can safely open up as long as you protect the vulnerable, the problem is people are being scared about this so much by the media and others that they won't want to go out there to go to work, to go shopping, to go out and about, because they think, “Oh, if I catch coronavirus, it's terrible." It's only terrible for a very small group of people. For most people who have had it, they didn't even know they've got it. That's why putting out this information is so important for our chances of opening up as quickly as possible.

VARNEY: Steve, you're a California guy. You're in California. What's going on? Californians are protesting the lockdown in California? What's going on? 

HILTON: Yes. What you are seeing here in California is community after community now really resisting the state-wide shutdown. You are seeing it in counties, not all of them rural counties. Certainly, some of them are rural counties, but Ventura County and others, San Luis Obispo, who are saying, “Look, we can't go on like this, it doesn't make sense. In our area, we have very few cases, we have very few people in the hospital. The hospitals are actually empty because we have shut down elective surgery, we have been waiting for this tsunami of coronavirus cases. It hasn't happened. Can we please get back to work." So bit by bit, you are seeing the resistance build. I have to say, the early action by California, particularly in the Bay area, it clearly did work in flattening the curve, but people are saying, “Well, now we have done that, can we please get back to work?"

VARNEY: In California. How about that. 

HILTON: That's right.

VARNEY: Steve, we will be watching your show Sunday night on the Fox News channel. Good stuff. Thank you, Steve Hilton.