Coronavirus

St. Louis Fed Pushes For Mass Testing Over Quarantine

James Bullard, president, St. Louis Federal Reserve, economy, quarantine, testing, coronavirus

James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, estimated that the quarantine is costing the U.S. economy $25 billion each day and while the lockdown was “initially” necessary, it’s not efficient. 

A quarantine was the appropriate response initially, “but we are not ‘initially’ anymore. We shouldn’t be thinking of rolling quarantines. We should be thinking about risk management,” Bullard said, according to a Tuesday (April 14) report in the St. Louis Business Journal, citing a virtual conference by the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

By way of example, he pointed to the number of traffic accidents and deaths every year. That issue is not managed by quarantining the public. “We use licensing, safety rules, seat belts,” he said. “We manage the risks. The same could be said for the health situation.”

Business shutdowns and other efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 are costing the country $25 billion a day in lost output. Bullard believes it’s now time to test everyone nationwide.

“There has been a shark in the water. As long as there is a shark in the water, people aren’t going back to the beach,” Bullard said. “People have to feel they are not at risk at work, at restaurants, in everyday life.”

Bullard said something similar during a CBS interview on “Face the Nation.” He said that he was in favor of testing every American and people that are negative could wear a badge with their negative result to instill a sense of calm.

He also thinks the economy could come back quickly, in a V shape, instead of a slower U shape. “There is no reason it can't come back in a V shape. It can happen if this is managed appropriately,” he said.

JPMorgan Chase estimates that the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) could sink by as much as 40 percent in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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