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Chris Christie says US can't allow virus to control reopening timeline

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) called for businesses across the country to reopen with safety measures Friday, saying that the coronavirus cannot control when parts of the country open amid the pandemic.  

"The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked Christie about an op-ed he published last week in The Washington Post in which he called for the beginning of the reopening of the country. 

He wrote that additional lives will be lost "as a result of reopening our country," but argued that continued strict shutdowns will cause mass economic strife, spurring unemployment, spikes in domestic violence and other consequences. 

During the Friday interview, Goldberg asked "who" Christie is sacrificing amid the ongoing pandemic, to which Christie responded, "What I said was that lives are going to be lost inevitably in this, no matter what we do. Lives are being lost today after we've been shut in for nine weeks. People are still dying every day from this virus."

"I said that some Americans will make that sacrifice no matter what we do, and now we have to decide how we're going to balance this, and the balance is that there are people who are standing on food bank lines, people who are losing their homes, people who are losing their livelihoods, which is leading to depression, which is leading to suicide, which is leading to drug addiction, which is leading to domestic violence," he continued. 

Just under 3 million people applied for initial unemployment claims in the week ending May 9, the Labor Department confirmed Thursday. The seasonally adjusted number brings the total of newly unemployed Americans since the beginning of the pandemic to 36.5 million.

A report released last month expressed concerns about the potential for increased suicide rates amid the coronavirus pandemic, and helplines have seen increased call volume as the crisis continues.

Christie added that he supports businesses opening at 50 percent capacity, all people wearing masks and temperatures being taken before people enter businesses.

"The View" co-host Sunny Hostin asked Christie whether the virus controls the timeline of when U.S. businesses reopen.

"If we allow the virus to control when we reopen, we will not reopen until there's a vaccine," Christie responded, pointing to varying estimates on when a coronavirus vaccine could become available.

Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has predicted that a vaccine will not be ready in time to play a role in school reopenings this year.

Rick Bright, a health official who formerly served as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, told lawmakers during testimony Thursday that, "Normally, it takes up to 10 years to make a vaccine," CBS News reported.

"I don't think anyone thinks we can afford to keep this country closed for ten years waiting for a vaccine. What I'm trying to say is that there are steps we can take with wearing masks, with social distancing, with cleaning surfaces, with washing hands, that will lower the rate of infection that occurred before we had a shut-in," Christie added.

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