CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin and Rick Santilli discuss Covid lockdowns

Andrew Ross Sorkin, co-host of “Squawk Box”, and Rick Santilli, bond director at CNBC, participated in a heated debate on the air Friday about the limitations of the Coronavirus, a contradiction that reflects the persistent divide among many Americans throughout the pandemic and the irony of the race. Presidential.

The sharp lockdown dispute between Sorkin and Santelli, which was also a major topic in the November elections, came after the release of the weaker-than-expected November jobs report. The slowest pace of growth in non-farm jobs since April has coincided with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across the country, prompting many governors and other local officials to reimpose virus mitigation measures. There are now more than 100,000 people in the United States who are hospitalized due to Covid-19.

Santelli – a veteran merchant figure and former bond trader, who usually reports to CNBC from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange – suggested that US policymakers should reconsider the balance between public health restrictions, especially on restaurants, while allowing more economic activity. He alluded to recent controversies involving politicians such as Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom of California I caught the heat by attending a friend’s birthday dinner Its a fancy restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“So there is actually, and there should be, an ongoing debate about why the car park is crowded for a big store like my home. There is not a single open parking space,” Santelli said. “Why are these people safer than a restaurant with plexiglass? I just don’t understand. And I think there are a million of these questions that could be asked.”

“I think it’s really sad that when we look at the service sector and all the discussions that we’ve had about job losses, this particular dynamic hasn’t been studied more, hasn’t worked more, and we’re not putting more people in,” Santilli said: “There’s a place and trying to figure out ways to empower these employees. Employers in the service sector can return in a safer way. ”“ You can’t tell me that lockdown, which is the easiest answer, is necessarily the only solution. ”

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Sorkin vehemently rejected Santilli’s comments, noting that public health experts widely agree that eating in in-house restaurants, where customers have to take off their masks to eat and drink, It represents a much higher risk of transmission of the Coronavirus From shopping at a retail store where all customers and employees wear masks.

Sorkin, who is also a financial columnist for the New York Times and traveling editor for DealBook, said he wants to remind viewers of the place of the scientific community, with many experts now recommending targeted restrictions on risky activities, such as indoor bars and restaurants, while allowing schools to hold personal lessons. For example.

“The difference between a large retailer and a restaurant, or even a church, frankly, is so different that it is unbelievable,” said Sorkin, before an angry Santilli cut him off.

“You can get your thoughts, and I can get my ideas,” Santelli said.

Sorkin replied, “It’s science. I’m sorry.” “It’s science. If you wear a mask, that’s a different story.”

“Five hundred people in Loi are no safer than 150 people in a restaurant with 600 people. I don’t believe it. Sorry,” Santilli said.

The exchange between Sorkin and Santilli comes about nine months after governors and other local officials in the United States first began imposing economic restrictions that they said were aimed at slowing the spread of the virus and relieving pressure on hospitals flooded with patients.

At least 276,406 Americans have died from Covid-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The cumulative number of cases in the United States is now over 14.1 million. Both cases and deaths in the United States account for about a fifth of the world totals.

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On Thursday, the United States recorded the second record day of coronavirus deaths that exceeded 2,800 and the worst day of new cases: 217,664. The average daily new cases in seven days was 179,473 record cases. As of Thursday, 100,667 people have been hospitalized with Covid-19, the largest number of the pandemic, according to the COVID Tracking Project, run by journalists at The Atlantic.

Partisan divide

Large parts of the country were divided during the pandemic, Largely along party lines, with President Donald Trump and Republican voters preferring fewer restrictions on public health than Democrats. In the spring, Trump said repeatedly that he wanted to “reopen” the economy and often took positions opposing his health advisers and conflicting with scientific findings.

President-elect Joe Biden has harshly criticized Trump’s response to the pandemic, making him a litmus in his campaign. He chose to forgo large gatherings, sometimes choosing instead to hold socially distant events, while Trump gave speeches outdoors with supporters sitting close to each other.

In the weeks after the news organizations announced the winner of the election, Biden did Continue to draw the contrast With Trump over Coronavirus. In an interview with CNN aired Thursday, Biden said he plans to ask every American to do so Wear a mask for 100 days To help control the spread.

Trump, who contracted with Covid-19 and recovered shortly before the November election, still refuses to concede to Biden, falsely claiming voter fraud, an assertion that has been debunked even by the attorney general and the Department of Justice.

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While the US economy has improved since its early devastation in April and May, when trade restrictions were tighter, there are still millions of Americans who remain unemployed. Some industries, such as automobiles and housing, showed a better-than-expected recovery, while the travel and hospitality sectors continued to struggle.

For his part, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has indicated throughout the pandemic that a strong economic recovery is not independent of the state of public health in the United States. “The way forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend greatly on our success in containing the virus,” Powell said in late June.

“A full recovery is unlikely until people have confidence that it is safe to re-engage in a wide range of activities,” the chief central banker added in his remarks at the time to the House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee. “The path forward will also depend on policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and support recovery as long as necessary.”

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