STEVE HILTON (HOST): Now we know how widespread the virus is from the survey testing. It's likely that millions of Americans have it. Millions more will get it. You can't quarantine and contact trace them all. So it was a major victory for science and common sense that this was cut from the new White House guidelines. They do not recommend testing everyone, only those who already have symptoms or people with no symptoms in vulnerable populations like nursing homes. But as the president has said, it's state and local leaders who decide how and when to open up, and the problem is a disastrous establishment groupthink has emerged around the extreme version of Dr. Fauci's plan.
Just in the last few days, the establishment put up a new roadblock to reopening, tripling the number of tests, quote, “to identify the majority of people who are infected and isolate them from people who are healthy." This establishment groupthink is misinformation. It ignores the latest data. No surprise that big business has bought into it too. Jeff Bezos told Amazon shareholders this week that those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for. Everyone who tests negative could reenter the economy with confidence. What an idiotic statement. We've got enough problems without Jeff Bezos casually throwing out ignorant, unscientific mumbo-jumbo.
But this is how some state and local leaders are talking too. Gavin Newsom this week said that California will need the widespread ability to test, contact trace, and isolate before relaxing its stay-at-home order. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the same thing. These people and their public health officials talk to Dr. Fauci.
Now, I'd like to talk to Dr. Fauci. His advice is hugely consequential. Unfortunately, although we've been asking for a while, he won't talk to us. So tonight, I'm just going to ask the questions anyway and see if we get a reply.
One: Dr. Fauci, you keep telling us you are led by the science and the data. Why was your data so wrong for so long? Why didn't you commission survey testing like the Stanford team has just carried out to get an accurate picture of the spread and fatality of this virus? Will you carry out nationwide survey testing immediately?
Two: Based on this new data, do you now accept that it's unnecessary and impractical to identify, isolate, and contact trace everyone who has this virus?
Three: Will you tell the governments, the media, the big business bosses like Bezos that widespread virus testing of individuals is not necessary for reopening? Will you rule out immunity certificates immediately?
Four: Do you agree that all deaths matter, not just coronavirus deaths? Will you commit to a study of the long-term public health costs of the shutdown to help inform any future pandemic response in factors like disruptive medical treatment, suicides, rise in opioid and other addictions, and lower life expectancy caused by shutdown-induced poverty.
Now, the contours of the political battle over all of this became clearer this week. President Trump now owns reopening but with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont looking at the end of May, de Blasio saying July, Gavin Newsom saying next year, Democrats own the shutdown, along with their allies in the establishment media, the voice of the 37% work-from-home elite.
By setting up the small business rescue plan and pushing for infrastructure, payroll tax cuts, and bringing manufacturing home, Trump owns the rebuilding. But with Pelosi and Schumer blocking emergency help, Democrats now own the small business collapse and job losses.
The White House reopening guidelines were mercifully free of the worst excesses of the Fauci doctrine. Free of stupid over-restrictive mandates. But even there there is still room for improvement. You can't really reopen the economy until you reopen schools, for example. And we still face a grave danger of government corona overreach. That is the immediate political battle.
The threat of this overreach is everywhere, even among conservatives, who should know better. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott put this man, Mark McClellan, on his reopen tax force. He is the co-author, along with Scott Gottlieb, of a reopening plan that is a monstrous technocratic nightmare. And look at this beauty from former Romney advisers Lanhee Chen and Avik Roy. This is a real quote. “Those wishing to engage in air and Amtrak travel should be required to participate in a certified contract tracing app and demonstrate at check-in that they have tested negative." Insane!
Do not let them expand the bossy, petty, busybody bureaucratic state on the back of this crisis. We now know finally, thanks to the Stanford research, just how widespread this virus is. We can't hide from it, we must learn to live with it. Until we get a vaccine, a cure, of course, protect the vulnerable, but most people who get it don't even know they've had it. All these complicated technocratic schemes for reopening and endless testing are a trap.