'We can't shut down the economy again,' Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says as fears of a 2nd wave of COVID-19 mount

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesTreasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Thursday that another economic shutdown would harm the US, even in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

“We can’t shut down the economy again,” Mnuchin said during an interview with CNBC. “I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage.”

That damage goes beyond economic fallout, extending to “medical problems and everything else that get put on hold,” he said.

“I think it was very prudent what the president did,” Mnuchin said, “but I think we’ve learned a lot.”

Fears have mounted that a second wave of coronavirus cases has emerged since US states began to reopen. US stocks slumped on Thursday, reversing recent gains, after the Federal Reserve said unemployment is likely to stay elevated for years and the US’s total case count surpassed 2 million.


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On Wednesday, Texas reported 2,504 new COVID-19 cases, the highest one-day count since the pandemic began. Florida also reported a staggering 8,553 new cases this week, about one month into the state’s reopening, Bloomberg reported. In California, COVID-19 hospitalizations have surged as well.

Still, Mnuchin cheered stimulus efforts by Congress and the Federal Reserve. He also said he was prepared to ask Congress for more money to boost the US economy if necessary.

“We’re going to get everybody back to work,” he said. “That’s my No. 1 job working with the president, and we’re going to do that.”


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