Trump sets Easter target for reopening American economy
In his briefing Tuesday afternoon with the Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump made earlier comments about the need to reopen the U.S. economy within weeks, stressing that the decision was ultimately data-driven and in consultation with public health experts would be met.
The president said he still wants Americans to return to work by Easter Sunday, which he first said during a virtual town hall with Fox News earlier in the day. But he was much more careful about whether this would be possible from a medical point of view.
His earlier comments about the reopening of the economy alarmed public health experts across the country, who said it was far too early. Trump seemed much more cautious during his briefing when he talked about “careful and responsible reopening of the country.”
“I want to reassure the Americans that we have a team of public health experts … also economists and other professionals working to develop a sophisticated plan to reopen the economy once the right time has come, based on the best science The best modeling and the best medical research “There are all over the world,” he said.
Trump stressed that this is a “medical crisis – this is not a financial crisis.”
In the Fox News TV special earlier on Tuesday, Trump said he would “like to open the country and only go until Easter.”
This is April 12, within the “weeks” period that Trump hopes is appropriate to curb the social distancing, isolation and other measures that officials have outlined to slow the spread of the coronavirus – but the have also paralysed the economy.
During the briefing, officials also recommended that people who have recently left the New York City subway area should quarantine themselves for the next 14 days to ensure the virus does not spread.
The infection rate in the US has not stopped rising – by Tuesday afternoon, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there were more than 50,000 confirmed cases nationwide – and Trump’s target date for April 12 is much earlier than other milestones set by officials in the United States.
The District of Columbia, for example, has closed its schools until April 24. Virginia schools won’t see each other again for the rest of the school year.
Trump and Vice President Pence have talked about what they see as a need for the U.S. to quickly back down, as military commanders might say – to continue some measures to contain the pandemic, but also to some companies reopening.
“You can destroy a country in this way by closing it,” Trump said Tuesday on the Fox special.
In the coming months, the President and the Vice-President have focused on the most vulnerable groups of the population, in particular the elderly with pre-existing conditions.
Under this construction, life could shift from separating all to a permit for more people to leave their homes and return to work. For now, Trump said Americans could still be discouraged from shaking hands and doing so. “We can distance ourselves socially and go to work,” he said.
At the same time, as Pence described it, the national response would shift from a response to the dispersal of all to the defense of the elderly, though it is not clear whether public health officials agree or what new steps may be necessary.
During the task force briefing, Pence also spoke about FEMA’s efforts to identify personal protective equipment and ventilators.
As of Tuesday, FEMA is selling 7.6 million N95 respirator masks, more than 14 million surgical masks, and has already delivered 73 pallets of personal protective equipment to New York, Pence said.
Pence also reflected on an “inspiring” response from companies across the country that mobilize to produce critical supplies.
“We’re seeing the industry grow,” Pence said.
“We’ve heard that McDonald’s is now offering roadside delivery to truckers who can’t pick up Big Macwiththe Drive-Thru.”
Pence also said he spoke with Tim Cook of Apple, whose company donates 9 million N-95 masks to health facilities across the country and to national stockpiles.
Halfway through the isolation
The United States is nine days in a 15-day period, according to White House guidelines, to “slow down” the spread of the virus. When that ends, the administration will consider whether to recommend more isolation and damage limitation, or allow some people to work or travel, as Trump has proposed.
It is not clear what metrics the White House could use in this assessment, and the challenge of leaving this isolation phase is exacerbated by the unequal coronavirus disease across the country.
The state of Washington, California, and the state of New York are particularly hard hit, but do not move at the same rate due to their infection rates.
Dr. Deborah Birx, head of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, says Washington state, for example, is about two weeks ahead of New York.
The White House has acknowledged that many of the important upcoming decisions about the pandemic include governors or local officials. Trump and Pence, however, have come under pressure to at least raise broad expectations about when life can return to normal.
In recent days, the President has taken up the idea that too much isolation and too much mitigation could be too ruinous for the economy, saying that “healing” cannot be worse than the disease.
“We have a pent-up energy that will be incredible,” Trump said.
The president said he wanted to be aware of the need to reconcile public health interests with a desire to reopen America to business, but he also suggested that public health officials be too conservative. Could.
“I’m sure we have doctors who say: Let’s keep it closed for two years,” Trump said. “No, we have to open it – our people want to open it, and that’s how this country was built.”
Trump appeared on Fox in a separate interview tuesday, describing a scene he had imagined in which millions of believers could attend Easter services next month.
“Wouldn’t it be great if all the churches were full?” Trump noted that the churches were forced to go online because of social distancing policies.
“Online will never be like being there,” he said. “They will have churches all over our country. I think it would be a nice time.”
Call for consensus on legislation
Trump and Pence called on Congress to complete work on aid and incentive legislation that has been negotiated in recent days, but they also accused Democrats of what they called opportunism about the bill.
“Suddenly they started throwing in the Green New Deal stuff – ‘we want green energy’,” Trump said.
The president doesn’t like wind turbines after arguing about the prospect of them being installed near a golf course he owns in Scotland, and Trump suggested Tuesday that democratic support for wind energy would help him may have led to rejecting some of the proposals in the bill.
“They had terrible things in them – windmills everywhere … Windmills that kill the birds and ruin the real estate, right?” Trump said.
Washington must focus on “the workers,” the president said. “Workers first.”
Trump said in his second interview on Fox that he wasn’t worried about the cost of a stimulus package of about 2 trillion U.S. dollars, because he saw it as an investment.
“It’s not real spending because a lot of it helps businesses,” he said. “It’s loaded to save companies,” he said, referring specifically to Boeing.
“They’re going to repay it,” he said, noting that some could pay by giving the government some equity and also paying back with interest.
“We’re going to get shares for our country’s taxpayers,” Trump said.