Dr. Michael Osterholm, who serves as director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said that while the country is locked down, people could be paid for lost wages.
Over the past several months, Congress has failed to reach an agreement on a stimulus package, including expanded unemployment benefits, stimulus payments, small business loans, and other measures. The first one was passed in March, including $1,200 payments, loans, and $600-per-week federal weekly unemployment benefits.
“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. We could do all of that,” Osterholm told Yahoo. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks.”
Biden was named to his "advisory board" earlier this week. Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of Yale University, Dr. Atul Gawande of Harvard, and Dr. Rick Bright are on the panel.
President Donald Trump did not concede the race after Biden declared victory over the past weekend. The Epoch Times will not call the race in favor of either candidate until all legal challenges are exhausted and the Electoral College meets to render the final decision on the presidency.
Osterholm and Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari wrote in the New York Times in August that more restrictive lockdowns are needed across the United States.
“The problem with the March-to-May lockdown was that it was not uniformly stringent across the country. For example, Minnesota deemed 78 percent of its workers essential,” they said. “To be effective, the lockdown has to be as comprehensive and strict as possible.”
“We could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year while bringing back the economy long before that,” Osterholm said Wednesday, without providing many details on how that could be accomplished. In the Yahoo interview, Osterholm also appeared to tie the recovery to the availability of a vaccine.
Osterholm, like Biden, also said in another interview the United States is heading for dark days over the coming winter.
"We have some very dark months ahead of us. And part of that is because we won't really see vaccine be available in any real material way for at least through the end of this year into next year," he said.