President Donald Trump, who last month said he’d love to have the country open by Easter, has done an about face.
The president now says it will not reopen “until we know this country is going to be healthy,” according to an CNBC report on Friday (April 10).
Trump’s reversal follows a New York Times report that said the U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services predicted that lifting stay-at-home orders, reopening schools and eliminating the six-foot social distancing recommendation after just one month would cause coronavirus infections to rise this summer.
During the daily White House briefing, Trump said he had not seen the Health and Human Services projections, but is considering a date when the country could open.
“We’re looking at a date, we hope we’ll be able to fulfill a certain date, but we’re not doing anything until we know this country is going to be healthy,” Trump said. “We don’t want to go back and start doing it over again, even though it would be on a smaller scale.”
As of Friday afternoon, there were 102,025 COVID-19 deaths worldwide, 1.7 million have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 341,185 have recovered, according to John Hopkins University.
If he opened the country’s economy, Trump said, he would consider another shutdown if there are more coronavirus cases, the news service reported.
“I want to get it open as soon as possible,” Trump said. “This country was meant to be open and vibrant ... I would love to open it, I’m not determined to anything. The facts will determine what I do, but we do want to get the country open.”
He also said while the state’s governors will decide when to reopen, he has “great authority” if he wants to use it.
“I’ve gained great respect for governors, both Republican and Democrat,” Trump said. “I’ve actually become friends with some of the Democrat governors that I wouldn’t have really had the privilege of getting to know.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House health advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said eliminating the restrictions could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases.
“When we decide at a proper time when we’re going to be relaxing some of the restrictions, there’s no doubt you’re going to see cases, Fauci said. “I’d be surprised if we didn’t see cases. The question is how do you respond to them.”