U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, reflecting the president’s optimism, said it’s possible the nation could reopen next month.
In a CNBC interview on “Squawk on the Street” on Thursday (April 9), the treasury secretary told Jim Cramer the Trump administration was doing everything it can to get America back to work.
“I think as soon as the president feels comfortable with the medical issues,” Mnuchin said.
The comments came hours after the U.S. Department of Labor reported the coronavirus pandemic triggered another 6.6 million unemployment claims for the week ending April 4. The latest numbers reflect an increase of 187,538, or 3.1 percent, from the week ending March 28.
Thursday morning, the Federal Reserve announced as much as $2.3 trillion in loans to strengthen small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), households and local governments through new and expanded programs to battle the economic impact of the coronavirus.
The country’s “highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “The Fed’s role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible.”
Last month, President Donald Trump said he hoped the U.S. would be reopened by Easter as he considered how to relax social-distancing guidelines to put some workers back on the job during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a report by AP News.
“I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he told Fox News virtual town hall.
Easter is celebrated this year on April 12.
So far, 1.5 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus worldwide, 90,057 have lost their lives, while 340,630 have recovered from the virus, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.