Anyone who thinks that Donald Trump is alone in valuing stock market numbers over human lives has never watched either Fox News or any network whose name includes the word “business.” The whole business of business channels is finding ways to add another billion to billion-dollar portfolios by improving “productivity”—or, as it’s known to everyone else, getting more work out of people while paying them less.
But even by the feudal standards of CNBC, this moment from host Rick Santelli is a horrifying example of literally choosing to sacrifice people in order to make things more convenient for the world’s CEOs. About the coronavirus, Santelli said, “Maybe we'd be just better off if we gave it to everybody, and then in a month it would be over because the mortality rate of this probably isn't going to be any different if we did it that way than the long-term picture, but the difference is we're wreaking havoc on global and domestic economies."
See, trying to prevent coronavirus from becoming an unrestrained epidemic costs money. Also time. There are all those cancelled conferences. Declining airline revenues. Deals that can’t be dealt.
During his bid to get slotted in between Dracula and The Creature in the pantheon of notable monsters, Santelli repeatedly compares the coronavirus to “the generic-type flu,” even as he concedes that it’s not the generic-type flu. But hey, if it were, we’d only be killing somewhere between 12,000 and 60,000 Americans to get those business wheels back to spinning at full speed. Barely a road bump.
Of course, no one has any immunity to the novel coronavirus, and there is no vaccine. So even if it has the same fatality rate as the flu, the number of deaths would be more like 320,000 … but still, have you seen Delta’s stock? Measures must be taken.
And then there’s the fact that so far the case fatality rate of coronavirus isn’t 0.1% like that of generic flu. It’s 3.4%. So … 10 million Americans? Is that still something Santelli would rush to embrace in order to get everyone back to work and boost that market up, up, up? Honestly, it’s best not to ask.