RELEASE: Analysis Shows Backtracking on Social Distancing Will Harm the Economy

Washington, D.C.— A new analysis by economists Marc Jarsulic, Michael Madowitz, and Christian Weller looks at the overwhelming evidence that maintaining strong social distancing measures will ultimately benefit the economy.

The analysis cites reasons that relaxing social distancing measures will ultimately harm the economy:

  • Evidence from the 1918–1920 influenza pandemic shows that cities that put nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as social distancing, in place more swiftly and for longer periods both lowered mortality and did better economically in the intermediate term.
  • The increased mortality that will result from relaxing social distancing prematurely will likely lead to panic and further hoarding, price gouging, and ultimately a drop in economic activity.
  • While the Trump administration has argued that decreased economic activity will cause increased mortality, the authors write that statistical evidence does not support these claims. Mortality tends to fall during economic downturns, and Congress and the administration have the power to institute programs to mitigate the human costs of these programs.

“Social distancing is not only saving lives, but it is ultimately preserving our economy too,” said Jarsulic. “While social distancing is causing a lot of economic pain right now, it is necessary. The economic data shows that, over the medium term, strict social distancing measures will ultimately preserve the economy.”

Read the column: “Social Distancing To Fight the Coronavirus Saves Lives and Preserves the U.S. Economy” by Marc Jarsulic, Michael Madowitz, and Christian Weller

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at .

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