A Biden COVID-19 advisor suggested a national lockdown lasting up to 6 weeks, but said the idea was unlikely to gain support

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Michael Osterholm
Michael Osterholm, part of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory panel. Meet the Press/NBC
  • A US nationwide lockdown lasting four to six weeks would help control the coronavirus and revive the US economy, Michael Osterholm, a COVID-19 advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, said Wednesday.

  • On Thursday, Osterholm clarified his statement and told ABC News that he had not discussed this idea with others and added he did not believe it would be supported by lawmakers.

  • The US is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases again. On Monday, the country surpassed 10 million coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Michael Osterholm, an influential COVID-19 advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, clarified his suggestion for a four- to six-week nationwide lockdown in the US to help drive down coronavirus infections was not a formalized nor official plan.

Osterholm, part of the 13-person COVID-19 advisory panel that Biden announced Monday, suggested the idea of implementing several weeks of nationwide lockdowns to Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments,” he said. “We could do all of that. If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks.”

He said the US had a “big pool of money” to help pay for people’s lost wages and get the economy back on track during a lockdown while a vaccine was being rolled out, and that a national lockdown would drive down the number of new COVID-19 cases “like they did in New Zealand and Australia.”

On Thursday, Osterholm told ABC News that he had not discussed this idea with others and that he didn’t think it would gain widespread support.

“It’s not going to be supported out of the administration. It’s not going to be supported in Congress,” Osterholm told ABC News.

On Friday, Dr. Vivek Murphy, one of the three co-chairs of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” the US would focus restrictions in areas based on the spread of the disease as opposed to a nationwide lockdown.

The US surpassed 10 million coronavirus cases on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The US could see 1 million daily coronavirus cases by the end of 2020, according to a new report from Pantheon Macroeconomics released Wednesday. The coronavirus has killed more than 243,000 people in the US and infected more than 10.6 million. On Sunday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases recorded worldwide passed 50 million.

In response, some states, including Wisconsin, Nevada, and New York, have imposed new restrictions. Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Wednesday that New York City was on its “last chance” to stop a second wave and said bars, restaurants, and gyms must close by 10 p.m.

This story was updated with new information.

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