Oh, you don’t want to catch COVID-19 if your place of employment reopens during the outbreak? Well, maybe you should’ve thought about that before you decided to exist.
That was the odd argument that Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), who is also a doctor, made at a congressional hearing on Wednesday while dismissing health officials’ guidelines on enacting statewide safety measures–such as contact tracing and stay-at-home orders–before the economy should reopen.
During a back-and-forth with former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Tom Frieden, Harris argued that even though the virus is still spreading, those safety measures don’t eradicate the disease entirely and therefore businesses, at least those in less populous areas, ought to be allowed to reopen anyway.
“What we can say is, you will be safer if you’re able to open with contact tracing in place,” Frieden said.
“Well, we’re safer if we’re not born. We’re safer from death if we’re not born, right?” Harris retorted. “I mean the bottom line is, there’s some element of risk.”
As such, the GOP lawmaker asserted, the guidelines were overly broad and too much of an unnecessary hindrance to reopening certain economies, like those in rural parts of his state versus more urban settings.
“Why do we have a one-size-fits-all approached when we can be much more nuanced?” he asked.
Watch the exchange in a video posted by Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis below:
Former CDC Director Tom Frieden tells Rep. Andy Harris we’ll be safer if we reopen with contact tracing in place.
“We’re safer from death if we’re not born, right?” pic.twitter.com/lLJyjRB0bD
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) May 6, 2020