The coronavirus has mixed into nearly every corner of the world, but leaders like President Trump are worried that the response, including mass shelter-in-place orders, the closing of businesses, and the shutting down of industries, could hit the economy worse than the pandemic. With markets rattled, healthcare systems stretched to breaking point, and millions out of work, many are calling for a more nuanced response to the crisis.
Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, joined The Cats Roundtable from the Vatican City, saying what he’s witnessing in Italy, the epicenter of the virus in Europe, is “remarkable.”
Gingrich explained that though the Italian authorities had originally “underestimated the virus,” the country was now working “to close everything down,” including implementing fines for people caught outside without an adequate excuse. With the precautionary measures in place, there was sign the rate of infections were slowing down.
“They’re taking it very, very seriously, trying to get this thing under control, and it’s still a challenge,” Gingrich said.
He told The Cats Roundtable that it was President Trump’s choice to initially shut down travel from China that saved the U.S. from Italy’s situation for a few weeks. The President was strongly criticized for the travel ban, but Gingrich reminded Americans that the President’s obligation is to the safety of the American people.
“The President has taken the position, correctly, that his job is to protect Americans,” he explained.
Gingrich agreed with the President’s calls for the U.S. to ease shelter-in-place orders for less hard-hit areas of the country to keep the economy moving, as it’s a fact that the U.S., beyond the major cities, have few, if any, coronavirus cases.
“I think as long as they are careful, they can probably begin to think about not going to a total lockdown,” he said.
He disagreed with the idea being, pushed by mainstream news outlets, that opening the economy back up and protecting public health were mutually exclusive, telling The Cats Roundtable, “We can have a healthy economy and we can have public health, if we go through it the right way.”
In the end, Gingrich is optimistic about America’s handling of the current crisis.
“The human race has dealt with this before, we’ll deal with it again in the future,” he said, adding he has faith in the President and the team coordinating the response to the pandemic.
As for how permanent the changes occurring in these times will mold American Life in the long-run, Gingrich is doubtless that there will be a “significant impact,” with over a third of Americans currently under shelter-in-place orders, and politicians wielding enormous power in the name of public health. But the former Speaker said in the end it shouldn’t cause a “permanent detour.”