CNBC's Rick Santelli is getting ripped apart online for saying 'we'd be better off' if everybody in the US got coronavirus

William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
  • CNBC commentator Rick Santelli is facing a backlash after suggesting Thursday that the US may be “better off” if everyone contracted coronavirus now in order to more quickly stabilise markets.
  • Santelli argued that months of preventative health measures like quarantine would have a more damaging effect on the economy than infecting everyone now because “in a month it would be over.”
  • Coronavirus cases have approached 100,000 globally with more than 3,000 deaths, mostly in China. More than 100 cases have been confirmed across 13 states in the US. Markets are plunging as the virus spreads.
  • Santelli apologised Friday morning.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

CNBC commentator Rick Santelli made a controversial argument about the spread of coronavirus on the network Thursday afternoon: “Maybe we’d just be better off if we gave it to everybody.”

Santelli claimed that preventative measures like quarantining people exposed to COVID-19, which the CDC has recommended, would be more disruptive to international markets than simply letting the virus spread as fast as possible.

“Then in a month it would be over because the mortality rate of this probably isn’t going to be any different if we did it that way than the long-term picture, but the difference is we’re wreaking havoc on global and domestic economies,” Santelli said.

His remarks were quickly called out by people online as insensitive.

COVID-19 has a mortality rate of 3.4 per cent, according to the World Health Organisation; the most deaths have been reported in areas of China that have seen the most severe outbreaks.

Global markets have continued to fall as the coronavirus spreads, with global stocks plummeting by roughly $US9 trillion in the past nine days, according to a Bank of America research note.

Santelli apologised for his remarks on air Friday morning.

“It was a stupid thing to say, it’s not appropriate in this instant,” Santelli said. “I do apologise for my insensitivity.”

Santelli’s remarks drew almost universal backlash online.

A CNBC spokesperson declined to comment.

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