With much of the country hunkering down and attempting to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), President Donald Trump said that he wants the United States to be “opened up and raring to go by Easter.”
Despite the virus continuing to spread - with its apex potentially hitting within three weeks - Trump made the comments in a Fox News virtual town hall on Tuesday, March 24.
Easter falls on Sunday, April 12 this year.
As of Tuesday, there have been more than 396,592 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally, which resulted in 17,229 deaths. There have been 46,168 confirmed cases in the United States, the third-most in the world behind only China and Italy.
"I give it two weeks," Trump said while suggesting he was ready to phase out the current 15-day self-isolating guidelines when they expire. "I guess by Monday or Tuesday, it's about two weeks. We will assess at that time and give it more time if we need a little more time. We have to open this country up."
Trump has been adamant and insistent on “opening up the country” by allowing businesses to return to work, despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced most into a self-imposed quarantine to help avoid the spread of the virus.
“We’re opening up this incredible country. Because we have to do that. I would love to have it open by Easter,” he added. “I would love to have that. It’s such an important day for other reasons, but I’d love to make it an important day for this. I would love to have the country opened up, and rarin’ to go by Easter.”
Trump once again compared COVID-19 to the flu, stating that “we lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don’t turn the country off.”
On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that new studies found that the apex of the virus may come as soon as 14 to 21 days in the region, as cases continue to mount as the New York metro area has become the epicenter for the outbreak in the United States.
"A lot of what we've done is tackle this epidemic the way people said we should have tackled the flu in 1918," White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx stated, noting that Trump has asked her task force to use the next two weeks "to get all the data from around the country.”
Shortly after Trump’s statements, three United States health organizations – representing the nation’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals – issued a public plea to Americans to stay home.
“Staying at home in this urgent moment is our best defense to turn the tide against COVID-19,” the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, and American Nurses Association wrote in an open letter. “Physicians, nurses, and health care workers are staying at work for you. Please stay at home for us.”
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