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April 8, 2020, 9:14 a.m. EDT

Investor who made a killing during the financial crisis says the U.S. needs end the shutdown immediately

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By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch


Bloomberg News
Michael Burry

‘Universal stay-at-home is the most devastating economic force in modern history And it is man-made. It very suddenly reverses the gains of underprivileged groups, kills and creates drug addicts, beats and terrorizes women and children in violent now-jobless households, and more. It bleeds deep anguish and suicide.’

That’s Michael Burry, whose timely bet against mortgage securities ahead of the 2008 financial crisis was highlighted in “The Big Short” movie, sharing his controversial thoughts on the economic shutdown in an email to Bloomberg News .

His view comes amid mounting job losses and a reeling stock market — both of which, he seems to believe, could be mitigated if the country were allowed to get back to work.

Burry, who earned his M.D. at Vanderbilt University before he shifted gears to become a professional investor, has for weeks been railing on Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +0.87% against the government’s response to the pandemic. Here’s just a sample:

Burry also made the case for hydroxychloroquine, a drug backed by President Donald Trump, that has become a political hot potato, with many in the medical community questioning its efficacy.

Here’s Burry’s vision from last month of what the U.S. needs to do to address the outbreak:

He offered more detail in his emails this week to Bloomberg News as to why he would immediately lift stay-at-home orders for everybody but high-risk groups.

“I would let the virus circulate in the population that is not likely to get severe disease from it,” he wrote. “This is the only path that comes close to balancing the needs of all groups. Vaccines are not coming anytime soon, so natural immunity is the only way out for now. Every day, every week in the current situation is ruining innumerable lives in a criminally unjust manner.”

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 tally keeps rising in the U.S., home to the most confirmed cases at about 400,000, with 12,911 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there are now 1.45 million cases and more than 83,000 deaths. Another 308,146 people have recovered.

At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.04%  , S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.24% and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.43% were poised for a strong rebound on Wednesday after a volatile stretch that ended in the red in the prior session

/zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 32.62
+0.28 +0.87%
Volume: 13.31M
May 22, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
20.23
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$25.59 billion
Rev. per Employee
$776,112
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/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
24,465.16
-8.96 -0.04%
Volume: 255.66M
May 22, 2020 5:09p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
2,955.45
+6.94 +0.24%
Volume: 2.19B
May 22, 2020 5:09p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
9,324.59
+39.71 +0.43%
Volume: 3.40M
May 22, 2020 5:16p
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Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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