The head of the St. Louis Federal Reserve raised eyebrows during an interview Sunday when he suggested requiring daily coronavirus testing followed by mandatory badges to indicate that you’ve been screened.
“What you want is every single person to get tested every day. And then they would wear a badge like they would at a – after they voted or something like that to show that they’ve been tested,” James Bullard, the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Bullard claimed that the move would “immediately sort out who’s been infected and who hasn’t been infected.” The benefit, he said, is that the economy could gain traction again because individuals would be able to “interact with each other with a lot of confidence.”
Bullard warned last month that the unemployment rate in the U.S. could soar above 30 percent and will be most felt in the second quarter. The New York Times reported that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is likely around 13 percent and “almost certainly at its highest level since the Great Depression.”
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The paper pointed out that the Labor Department reported that 10 million people have filed for unemployment over the last two weeks. The troubling element for many workers is that there is no clear end in sight for the pandemic and the next two weeks in the U.S. are already being called among the “darkest” in our history.
As of Monday afternoon, the U.S. has seen 347,000 official coronavirus cases and over 10,000 deaths. The virus is considered highly contagious and can even be transmitted between asymptomatic carriers. A coronavirus task for in St. Louis said that the city has seen 400 hospitalizations so far and expects that the city will see its peak in about two weeks.
States across the U.S. have been criticized by many for overextending their authority by demanding that businesses that they deem are “nonessential” must close and requiring residents to stay inside they’re conducting “essential business.”
Despite the benefit that daily testing could provide for public confidence, the call for badges attracted criticism on social media as one of the most extreme suggested measures to date. Bullard’s idea also raised questions about how feasible such an order could be and how it would be monitored.
“Call me crazy, but being a Jew, the suggestions of government assigned “badges” always makes me a little nervous,” one Twitter user posted. She was referring to the Jewish Stars and other Holocaust badges that Jewish residents in Europe were ordered to wear by the Nazis.
“The coronavirus solutions are getting REALLY creepy,” another user wrote.