Trump said Tuesday that he wants the U.S. open and “raring to go” in less than three weeks, proposing an optimistic end date to the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as he pushes to reinvigorate an election-year economy that has been turned on its head, a date just over two weeks away that few health experts believe will be sufficient in containing the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking during a Fox News town hall, Trump reiterated he was eager to see the nation return to normal, even as doctors warn the nation will see a massive spike in cases if Americans return to crowded workplaces or events.
“I give it two weeks,” Trump said earlier in the town hall, suggesting he was ready to phase out his 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.”
Despite announcing the new guidelines under the banner “The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America,” Trump seemed to distance himself from the practices during the town hall.
“Somehow, the word got out that this is the thing we are supposed to be doing,” he said, noting the country had “never done a thing like this before.”
“But we had to do it. It’s been very painful for our country and very destabilizing,” he said.
As his advisers prepare options for returning the country to work, Trump suggested that Americans would still be able to exercise good health practices while still returning to normal.
“We have to go back to work much sooner than people thought. People can go back to work and they can also pass it on my practice good judgment,” he said.
Trump again compared coronavirus to the flu and auto accidents, despite warnings from his health advisers that such analogies make little sense.
“We lose thousands and thousands of people to the flu. We don’t turn the country off,” he said, adding: “We lose much more than that to automobile accidents.”
Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said comparing coronavirus to auto accidents was a “false equivalency” and said it was important to “face the fact” that coronavirus is more lethal than the flu.