Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Thursday against locking down the country again even as fears grow about a potential second wave of coronavirus cases.
“We can’t shut down the economy again,” Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC. “We’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage. And not just economic damage, but there are other areas, and we’ve talked about this — medical problems and everything else that get put on hold.”
Mnuchin weighed in as the U.S. surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases, with states beginning to reopen and racial justice protests happening across the country.
Mnuchin said there is “plenty of hospital capacity” and “a lot of progress on testing.” The pressure on hospitals to treat a rush of coronavirus patients was a key reason why much of the country shut down and states enforced social distancing restrictions beginning in March.
Mnuchin this week signaled strongly that the administration would support a new round of economic stimulus legislation. He said today that only $1.6 trillion from previous bills had been pumped into the economy and that another $1 trillion would flow over the next month.
“We’re prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the American worker,” he said.