Former WH economic adviser: If everyone stays home for 6 months 'it's going to be like the Great Depression'

Former WH economic adviser: If everyone stays home for 6 months 'it's going to be like the Great Depression'
© Greg Nash

Former White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said Thursday that “if everybody stays home for six months” for social distancing during the pandemic “it’s going to be like the Great Depression.”

Hassett told CNN’s Poppy Harlow that if self-quarantining for the virus is needed into the summer and the fall, the country will either fall into a depression or people will be sent back to work “because at some point we can't not have an economy.”

“If everybody stays home for six months, then, you know, it's hard to — it's going to be like the Great Depression,” he said. “And so the question is just like, if we don't make any progress on the virus, then they're going to have to figure something out to get people back to work.”

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The former economic adviser for President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE said the government’s progress on the virus is “still very, very uncertain.” He suggested people may work “with masks” in the future to keep the economy running.

“But you really can't shut down the global economy for six months and expect anything to continue,” he said.

Hassett also predicted that jobs losses reported in April will be “the worst jobs number you ever saw, and that’s like a virtual certainty.”

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“The fact is that if this drags on, then everything starts to unwind,” he said. “And even the big moves that we're seeing right now in Congress are not going to be enough.”

Hassett told CNN earlier this week that the recession seemed inevitable and the number of job losses in March alone could reach 1 million.

The White House and Congress are moving forward with a $1 trillion package to give American adults a $1,000 check each, plus another $500 for each child. This is the third and largest government response package thus far.

The first gave $8.3 billion to health agencies and first responders and the second, which Trump signed Wednesday, provided $104 to emergency paid leave, free coronavirus testing and unemployment insurance.

The U.S. has documented more than 9,400 people who are infected with the disease, leading to 150 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.