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Mad Money with Jim Cramer

Stopping the coronavirus from spreading will include a recession, Jim Cramer says

Key Points
  • "There's nothing more important than trying to stay home, wash your hands and get your supplies," CNBC's Jim Cramer said.
  • "Hopefully we can stagger this thing out and our scientists will come up with something to stop or at least slow the spread ... and it includes a recession," the "Mad Money" host said.
  • "We need a Malcolm X approach to this thing, as in 'by any means necessary,'" he said.
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A Malcolm X 'by any means necessary' approach is needed to solve coronavirus

The global coronavirus outbreak has painted a bleak picture for the U.S. economy and drastic measures must be taken to stop the virus from spreading, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday.

The suggestion came after the World Health Organization officially called the fast-spreading virus a global pandemic, the number of cases in the country rose above 1,110 and the death toll reached 32 people as of the afternoon, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

"There's nothing more important than trying to stay home, wash your hands, and get your supplies," the "Mad Money" host said. "Hopefully we can stagger this thing out and our scientists will come up with something to stop or at least slow the spread ... and it includes a recession."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up more than 1,400 points during the session for its fourth quadruple-digit decline within three weeks. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both slid almost 5%.

Cramer, who is bearish on the market, explained what action could be taken to turn him more positive.

Decrease the disease's spread

Health officials need to find a way to slow the spread rate of the coronavirus. Easing the spread will ensure that too many people do not get sick at once and overwhelm the health-care system, Cramer said, contrasting its impact on Italy and South Korea.

"That means we need to calmly start separating ourselves ... stop gathering [and] stop going out," he said. "If we do that, we can beat COVID-19, [even if] it's going to cause a recession."

'By any means necessary'

There is no known vaccine or cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Cramer said the public should put its trust in Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who played a key role in efforts to quell the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The federal government should incentivize organizations to develop a treatment as quickly as possible, Cramer said.

"More realistically, we need to flood local community health organizations with the billions of dollars they're going to need to do their jobs," the host said. "Think the 'Marshall Plan' for community health. We need a Malcolm X approach to this thing, as in 'by any means necessary.'"

Warmer weather

It's unclear how spring and summer temperatures will help keep the virus at bay, but there's hope that it will be a positive on top of other government action, Cramer said.

"If we slow the spread, flatten the curve, maybe we can get to the summer without horrific casualties and overwhelming the public health system," he said.

Major government stimulus

The federal government can take advantage of historic low interest rates and do something "major," Cramer said. He suggested offering everyone $1,500 to put more money in people's pockets and putting a moratorium on student loans.

The payroll tax holiday that President Donald Trump wants to authorize would do nothing to help those who are out of work, he added. 

"At this point, you need to think outside the box," Cramer said. "With interest rates so low, the government can get away with spending fortunes here, hundreds of billions of dollars. Again: whatever it takes."

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Stopping the coronavirus from spreading will include a recession, Jim Cramer says

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