Representative-elect Jerry Carl, R-Alabama, said that he opposes government lockdowns and urged “a return to normalcy,” in an interview with Fox News published last week.
“We can’t afford more government-mandated lockdowns,” Carl said on social media. “It’s time we safely get our people back to work, our kids back in school, and our families back in church. I won’t stop fighting to keep our country open so we can return to normalcy as quickly as possible.”
Carl, who is a businessman and Mobile County Commissioner, recently was elected to represent Alabama’s First Congressional District.
Carl told Fox News that he is so worried about the mental and spiritual health effects of the coronavirus lockdowns. Carl says he wants the U.S. response to the crisis to focus on finding ways to get people at least partially back in their routines as some begin to say that a vaccine shouldn’t be the end of social distancing and mask precautions.
“We’ve got to get people back to work,” Carl stated. “We’ve got to get kids back to school. We’ve got to get back in our churches. And, you know, we’ve got to get some normalcy back in our life right now.”
Alabama remains under a statewide “safer-at-home” order where everyone is urged to stay at home unless you just have to go out, but much of the country is under even harsher restrictions.
“It’s upside down,” Carl lamented. “You look at D.C. here, and it’s a virtual ghost town. Nine o’clock last night I think I saw three cars on the way back from the restaurant.”
Carl said that governments are taking the wrong approach to the pandemic.
“We need to focus on the fix and not so much the problem,” Carl said. “We know what the problem is, and money’s not going to fix it. A businessman is going to figure out what the problem is and then try to fix the problem, and that’s more my mentality.”
“The problem right now is the social aspect of it,” Carl said. “I mean, mentally, look at people, they’re trapped inside of a world they’re not used to. They’re 65 years old and they’re used to their grandkids coming and crawling all around. Now all of a sudden, their life is just out the window. And I think we’re doing more damage than good, I really do.”
“And that doesn’t mean we just foolishly go out there and spread a germ. We don’t do that,” Carl said. “But I think we’ve really gone overboard in some areas.”
One of the experts advising President-elect Joe Biden have suggested a more aggressive approach to slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told Yahoo Finance that a four- to six-week lockdown could both control the virus’ spread and benefit the economy.
“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages, for individual workers,” Osterholm said. He suggested that federal borrowing could bail out small- and medium-sized companies, cities, states and county governments.
“If we did that, then we could lockdown for four to six weeks, and if we did that, we could drive the numbers down,” Osterholm said. “Like they’ve done in Asia. Like they did in New Zealand and Australia.”
After which time, restrictions could be relaxed and things would be more normal with reduced community spread.
Other members of the Biden transition team have expressed doubts about the necessity or practicality of a four- to six-week national lockdown.
Carl has made it clear that he opposes a lockdown policy to combat COVID-19.
“Instead of locking people down, start giving them reasons to get out, teaching them precautions,” Carl said. It’s impossible “to encapsulate ourselves in this germ-free world.”
Carl said that it is critical that the U.S. not engage in wholesale lockdowns and that they disproportionately hurt businesses in urban areas. In pizza places and sandwich shops in the suburbs, you can drive there, park your car and “you can run in and out.”
“When you talk about a restaurant … in downtown Mobile, I mean they’re depending on foot traffic that’s moving around,” Carl said. “We don’t have foot traffic, we don’t sell sandwiches.”
Carl said that he misses seeing people at his church.
“We’re social creatures … the biggest thing I miss right now is my church, my family at church,” Carl said. “And we do have church and we do go to church, but we’re all split up. We’re all splintered up. You know, we have two services instead of one.”
The COVID-19 global pandemic has killed 343,182 Americans in fewer than 10 months, including 4,712 Alabamians. More than 19,781,624 Americans have been diagnosed with the virus to this point, including 347,897 Alabamians.
Carl will assume office on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.