Fact checking Trump’s claim about suicides if the economic shutdown continues – By Libby Cathey (ABC News) / March 25 2020
He predicts “tremendous death” of people depressed over losing jobs.
As some in President Donald Trump’s inner circle push for loosening social distancing guidelines amid economic fallout from the novel coronavirus outbreak, he has predicted “tremendous death” and “suicide by the thousands” if the country isn’t “opened for business” in a matter of weeks.
While public health officials warn that dropping social guidelines to boost the economy could quickly overload hospital systems, costing more money and more lives, the president has claimed several times this week that the number of suicides specifically would “definitely” be greater than the death toll from the virus itself as he pointed to people returning to work as a remedy.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, March 23, 2020, in Washington.
Alex Brandon/AP, FILE
“You’re going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression.” Trump said Tuesday in a Fox News town hall. “You’re going to lose people. You’re going to have suicides by the thousands.”
One night before, at a coronavirus task force briefing, the president said, “I’m talking about where people suffer massive depression, where people commit suicide, where tremendous death happens… I mean, definitely would be in far greater numbers than the numbers that we’re talking about with regard to the virus.”
A scientific report released March 16 by an epidemic modeling group at Imperial College London, found that without action by the government and individuals to slow the spread of COVID-19, as many as 2.2 million people in the U.S. could die — not accounting for the negative effects of health care systems being overwhelmed.