Bill Maher Says ‘Reckless’ Coronavirus Lockdowns May Have Helped Fuel Riots

During the latest edition of his HBO show, Real Time, comedian Bill Maher weighed in on the protests over George Floyd’s death, The Hill reported on Saturday.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died after a white officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, Derek Chauvin, pinned him to the ground and knelt on his neck. Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests, some of which turned into violent riots, with thousands taking to the streets.

According to Maher, the lockdowns and social distancing measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 may have fueled the demonstrations and riots. The comedian said that “when you coop people up and when they have no hope and no job, why not go out in the streets?”

The HBO host then went on to suggest that the lockdowns may eventually backfire, if they haven’t already.

“I feel like this experiment, this reckless experiment in closing down an entire country for months at a time is not going to look good in the future and this is one reason why.”

“It’s almost about what in the long run is going to cause more death,” Maher continued, pointing to a recent United Nations report. According to the report, hundreds of thousands of children around the world could die because of the unprecedented economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The report also said that the global economic downturn could lead to an increase in infant mortality, as up to 66 million children fall into extreme poverty. Furthermore, because of the worldwide lockdowns, more than 1.5 billion children have not been able to attend school, according to U.N. data.

“I know they’re not all Americans so they don’t count as much to Americans, but I think that matters somewhat,” Maher concluded.

Per Reuters, the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on stock markets around the world. It has also decreased global business activity by more than 30 percent, cratering oil prices and significantly reducing air traffic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the U.S. economy, but the gradual reopening appears to have done wonders for the job market. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, which was the best month for job growth on record.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump celebrated the new unemployment figures, arguing that the nation’s economy is on the road to recovery. Commenting on the unexpectedly good employment figures, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said that the president “has every reason to celebrate” the good news.