President Trump said he hopes to have the country “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” setting a goal aiming for Easter Sunday to have American’s return back to normalcy while resurrecting the economy.
“I would love to have the country opened up and rearing to go by Easter,” Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall from the White House Rose Garden. “It’s not built to shut down. Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don’t want to be locked in a house or an apartment or some space.”
Trump said his task force would consider ways to “allow local economies to cautiously resume their activity at the appropriate time” after the end of a 15-day period of strict social distancing ends. The United States is nine days into a 15-day period of White House guidelines to “slow the spread” of the virus.
“There were theories we were going to stay out for four or five months,” Trump said. “You destroy our country if you do a thing like that. We’re going to be opening relatively soon. Our time comes up Monday or Tuesday, the allotted two weeks. We will stay a little longer than that. But we want to get open very soon.”
However, health experts have warned that relaxing social distancing guidelines too early could prompt a surge in the spread of the virus that will overwhelm the health care system, just like in Italy.
The president this week had voiced his eagerness to get the country’s economy up and running as soon as possible once the 15-day period of strict social distancing ends.
“At a certain point we have to get open. We have to get moving. we’re not going to let the cure be worse than the problem. At the end of the 15-day period, we’ll make a decision as to which way we want to go,” Trump said during the Coronavirus Task Force’s daily briefing Monday evening. “America will, again, and soon, be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”
He argued he doesn’t want “to turn the country off” and see a continued economic downfall from the pandemic, saying “this cure is worse than the problem.”
Trump said his decision to institute travel restrictions and a social distancing advisory amid the coronavirus pandemic was one of the toughest choices he’s ever made.
“We’re the No. 1 in the world by far. And now, a few people walk into the Oval Office, say, ‘Sir, we have to close up the country.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ Trump said. “One of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. Because I knew that when you do it — as soon as you do it, you are going to drop — they are talking about 20 or 25 points of GDP. Now, all of the sudden, you’re basically turning off the country. I said, ‘This has never been done before.'”
The stock market has plummeted the past three weeks due to fears over the coronavirus impacting businesses. States across the country have imposed extreme measures such as ordering nonessential businesses to shut down to try to limit the spread of the virus, sending unemployment skyrocketing and fostering uncertainty for small business owners.
As of Tuesday, there are at at least 46,500 confirmed cases and 590 deaths from the Coronavirus in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.