Steve Hilton: We need to be practical and not panic on coronavirus. If not, the poorest Americans may suffer

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All this progress for American workers and families under President Trump, it's not just at risk in the November election. It's at risk right now, as we stand on the brink of a catastrophic overreaction to coronavirus.


Of course, no one should minimize it and we must do all we can to stop preventable deaths. But it seems to me that we've got a bunch of people in leadership positions in the media, in business, in Congress, who are running around maximizing coronavirus without a thought for the harm they may be causing.

With a virus like this, there's a policy choice -- containment or mitigation. You try and stop it from spreading or accept that it will spread and focus on reducing the harm.


In China, they went for containment with great success. They shut down whole cities, ruthlessly quarantined people for weeks, and it kind of worked. Doing that here would mean, right now, sealing off Seattle, probably California, too. Canceling domestic air travel, closing schools, separating families, canceling March Madness, putting the Democratic primary on hold -- all of that and much more -- deliberately and unconsciously tanking our economy and for what? For this.

Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer: Coronaviruses are responsible for the common cold, so it's something that all of you may also be quite familiar with.

Because of the current outbreak that originated in China is a new member of this family, our experience to date, though, is that most people -- more than 85 percent -- will have mild or no symptoms.

Stop this wild reckless overreaction based on panic, not science.

"Most people will have mild or no symptoms."

By the way, that is an actual public health official. When Trump says literally the same thing, the idiots on ruling class state TV go nuts.

Look, I don't think that in a free society, there is any chance of actually pursuing a real containment strategy like China did. The virus is here. It's going to spread. The vast majority of people who get it won't even know.

As Dr. Fauci said on Sunday, we know who is at risk - the elderly and those with underlying conditions. So for God's sake, let's put all our effort into protecting them. Draconian restrictions, yes, but only for the elderly and vulnerable. Get hospital ICUs and ventilator capacity ready. Take extra steps to protect nursing homes.

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As the administration announced last week, make sure no one is put off from getting seen by a doctor over fears of the cost. But stop this wild reckless overreaction based on panic, not science.

These people canceling South by Southwest [music and media festival], telling people to work from home and all the rest of it  -- they're not going to suffer. The people who will be really hurt are the workers in the hotels, the bars, the food trucks. Who's going to take care of them while the tech workers lounge around at home, ordering Uber Eats on their stupid iPhones?

This is yet another example of an arrogant ruling elite with no understanding of or empathy for how precarious the lives of the poorest Americans are. We need to have this discussion openly. We must debate the tradeoff between the potentially pointless effort of containment and the lasting pain that it would cause for the poorest Americans.


That's what President Trump has been doing. That's what Larry Kudlow was doing and they're 100 percent right on coronavirus. We don't need panic. We need to be positive and practical.

Adapted from Steve Hilton's monologue from "The Next Revolution" on March 8, 2020.