Real estate CEO Don Peebles called out the “big overreaction” in COVID-19 death toll projections and urged the U.S. to move ahead with reopening the economy.
Peebles, who served on former President Obama’s national finance committee, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the drop in the projected number of deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic is a sign for America to “get back to work.”
(Source: Fox News)
“I think first of all we need a reality check,” Peebles said on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Thursday.
“You just pointed out the fact that the projections continue to decline so they’ve been false. They have been incorrect. So we now know that there was a big overreaction here,” the real estate mogul said, noting that initial projections of 100,000 to 240,00 deaths from the virus were “false” and “incorrect” as the latest estimates project it to be near 60,000.
“So the first thing we need to do is that people who are not at risk, they need to get back to work. They need to get back into moving this economy forward because that is the protector of our democracy. And then those who are at risk, those over 65, we can ask them to voluntarily self-quarantine, to work remotely from home and do many of the things that they are doing now,” Peebles added
“But there is a large portion of America who is ready, willing and able to get back to work and we need to get them back to work now. And we need to start more testing, which we are doing. The president and the nation’s government has been emphasizing this testing process, but we know that many people are not at risk and we have to get them back to work,” the founder and chairman of a multibillion-dollar real estate development company contended, echoing the growing calls from many, including Fox News host Sean Hannity.
“So you could debate a lot of the things that you just said,” Carlson noted, not directly refuting Peebles’ argument.
“I’m struck by how little debate there is over this, and the reaction to people who say what you just said in public. Why do you think there is an enormous social pressure not to have a rational conversation about what to do next?” the Fox News host asked.
“Let’s think about where we are and what environment we were in before the coronavirus hit,” Peebles replied.
“That was a very partisan political season leading up to a presidential election this November. So as a result of that there has been this perpetuation that there is somehow some false choice to make or some extreme choice to make – either have to protect the nation’s economy or save lives and prevent death from the coronavirus,” he continued.
“That’s a false question. The reality is we should be able to do both, and I think the president wanted to start off doing both,” Peebles said, noting that he was criticized for it.
Even the president’s own infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has warned against restarting the economy too soon, saying on several occasions that doing so could endanger the public health and create another wave of the virus. Fauci recently revealed that he foresees a different America after the coronavirus pandemic is over and thinks handshakes should be avoided to prevent another outbreak.
The president has been trying to inject optimism into the national conversation and predicted a “big bounce” for the economy.
“The economy is just going to do very well,” Trump said at the White House coronavirus task force news briefing on Thursday. “I think we’re going to have a big bounce. … We’re going to open up very strong.”
Peebles pointed to the media hype and fear-mongering by many who have an anti-Trump agenda, which initially led to “hysteria.”
“The 24-hour news cycle made this environment of hysteria and he had to take steps to calm the nation down first. But I think that there is this environment to where you either are choosing capitalism or health,” he said.
Peebles did note the tragedy of lives lost but called for a “sacrifice” in starting up the economy again.
“Of course, every life is important, but our great democracy is bigger than all of us. And our way of life, that so many millions of Americans died to protect in wars, that is a critical part of our nation. And we need to protect that,” he told Carlson.
“If we don’t turn things around soon and to get this nation back to work, we are going to be in a recession that’s going to take years, probably decades to climb out of,” he concluded. “And it’s unnecessary, which is a sad reality. There is no need to be where we are right now.”
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