The economic effects shouldd't be ignored. The 2 Trillion dollar stimulus package that congress passed is equivalent to ~50% of the investment that would be required to make the US run on 100% renewable. I'm sure that too would save millions of lives over the course of the next decades. Unemployment raises mortality rates, not to mention the broad hitting reduction in quality of life from lower economic activity. Plenty of lives and livelyhoods were destroyed in the great recession.
Of course it is a matter of balancing the economic fallout with the health concerns. But it isn't necessarily right to aim for the minimum possible amount of lives lost, depending on what that entails for the economy. That isn't how society operates when it comes to any cause of death, be it influenza, traffic or anything else. Restrictions to reduce death rates from anything have to take into account the economic effects of those restrictions - Covid19 is no different. This is much more dangerous than say the flu, so a lot more economic pain is acceptable as a side effect of restrictions, but there is a limit to how far we should go, even though that would mean more people will die from this pandemic.
The current widespread lockdown is a stop-gap to give health services more time to prepare, both by finding possible treatment methods (there are already some promising therapeutics), gathering supplies like ventilators and PPE, acquiring temporary emergency hospital beds and planning for the eventual peak. We can't shut down to this degree until we have a vaccine which, according to the Imperial College study, would be the only way we could avoid a majority of the population getting infected. Social distancing and extra hygiene will be continued for months, but not the countrywide business shutdowns and extreme social distancing we are doing right now.
The problem I have with this argument is that it makes it look like the death of potentially millions of people has no economic impact at all.
Of course that's not what you're saying, but at the end of the day who knows what would happen if this virus is left totally unrestrained? What will happen when hospitals run out of space? What if it can potentially kill 10% of the population? I mean, we already know that it will infect pretty much anybody who come in contact with it, so even if we want to be 100% cynical bastards and say that human lives have value only as long as they can be measured in monetary terms...how much damage would 30mln deaths do to the american economy? I don't know about you, but I think insurance companies are shitting their pants right now.