President Donald Trump predicted on Thursday that deaths from the coronavirus in the United States will be much lower than 100,000 as he predicted the economy was on track to reopen.
‘You are looking at a much lower level than the level of, I hope the level of 100,000,’ he said at the daily White House briefing on Thursday.
There have been more than 15,000 deaths in the U.S. with over 436,000 people infected.
President Donald Trump predicted deaths from the coronavirus in the United States will be much lower than 100,000
Vice President Mike Pence noted that the containment measures like social distancing were working
President Trump acknowledged the tragedy suffered by many Americans who have lost loved ones.
‘You can never do anything about the people that lost their loved ones. And the great friendships and, I’m not sure a lot of people will ever be the same,’ he said in a rare moment of empathy.
But he went on to say the economy would bounce back and bounce back big.
‘I think our country from an economic standpoint, we have tremendous stimulus plans. I think what’s going to happen, we will have a big bounce rather than a small bounce,’ the president said. ‘And we will have succeeded in many ways. And, also from an economic standpoint, this is taking a tremendous toll mentally on a lot of people. I think we are going to open up strong, open up very successfully, and even more successfully than before.’
And Vice President Mike Pence sounded a hopeful note, saying the social distancing guidelines and other recommendations from the administration are working.
‘All evidence indicates from the West Coast to what we are beginning to see in major outbreak areas on east coast, it’s working America. And it’s working because you’re doing it. And we encourage you onward in that,’ he said.
The optimistic tone came as President Trump is looking at reopening the economy on May 1 and preparing to announce the formation of a task force designed to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed the date in an appearance on CNBC Thursday morning.
‘I do,’ he said when host Jim Cramer asked him if he thinks if ‘the doctors let us, that we could be open for business in the month of May.’
Trump originally named Easter Sunday as his goal for getting back to business, a date he had to walk back.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said it’s possible the economy could reopen in May
President Donald Trump is looking at reopening the economy on May 1
May 1 would mark the end of the administration’s ’30 Days to Slow the Spread’
And the president declined to name a specific day when asked about it at the daily White House press briefing on Thursday.
‘I don’t want to do that,’ he said when inquired if he was looking to reopen things on April 30th or May 1.
But a senior White House official told Axios there’s a big internal push for May 1, because that’s the end of the administration’s ’30 Days to Slow the Spread.’
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has made a similar prediction, saying on Monday the economy can ‘snapback’ from the damage done by the coronavirus in the next four to eight weeks.
‘I still believe, given our assistance package and hope and maybe prayer that we’re at a four-to-eight week period, we can get a pretty good snapback, a good snapback. That’s my hope,’ he told reporters at the White House.
He said the sooner the better.
‘The sooner we begin to reopen, the faster that snapback’s going to be. That’s the rule of thumb that I think most economists would agree with,’ he said.
President Trump will also announce as soon as this week a second, smaller coronavirus task force that will examine ways to combat the economic ramifications of the virus and focus on reopening the nation’s economy, The Washington Post reported.
The task force will consist of a mix of private-sector and top administration officials, including chief of staff Mark Meadows, Mnuchin and Kudlow.
People wearing face masks nail wood planks to cover windows and door of a store at Flushing’s Chinatown in New York
But their plans could be countered by health care officials, who managed to rein in the president from his original Easter target date.
Medical experts have argued that social distancing programs need to remain in place to avoid a second wave of coronavirus cases.
‘What we need to do is to make sure we don’t let up on those mitigation, those physical separation programs, because if we do that can just bounce back again,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday morning on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’
And when asked about a May 1 deadline, Fauci refused to commit to a date.
‘The virus itself will determine the guideline. We hope that by the time we get to this extended 30-day period, you know, we went from the 15 days of mitigation to the additional 30 days, which gets us to the end of April. I do hope by the time we get there that we will well see that curve, that bending in the curve which we’ve been talking about now for several weeks,’ he said.
‘You never want to claim victory prematurely,’ he added. ‘You hope that we’ll see that curve go down and then can start to think about gradually getting back to some sort of steps towards normality.’
The administration’s push to get back to business comes as a record 6.6 million unemployment claims were filed last week, according to the latest Labor Department figures released on Thursday.
The staggering number of first-time claims was on top of the more than 10 million applications filed in the last two weeks of March.
It means that more than one in 10 American workers have lost their jobs as tough measures to control the coronavirus outbreak abruptly grounded the country to a halt.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned the coronavirus will determine when the country reopens for business
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines Wednesday night to get workers in critical fields who are exposed to the deadly coronavirus back to work faster. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pictured announcing those new guidelines at a White House press conference
The Labor Department’s latest report on Thursday showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending April 4 totaled 6.6 million, down slightly from an upwardly revised 6.87 million the week before
The new jobless claims figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948.
Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines Wednesday night to get workers in critical fields back to work faster – which some saw as a sign the administration will slowly start to reopen the economy.
Under prior guidelines workers were told to stay home for 14 days if they were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Under new guidelines critical workers, in fields such as health care or food supply, can go back to work as long as they are asymptomatic.
They will have to follow certain conditions including taking their temperature before going to work, wearing a face mask at all times, and practicing social distancing.
‘One of the most important things we can do is keep our critical workforce working,’ CDC Director Robert Redfield said while unveiling the new guidelines during a White House news briefing on Wednesday.
The president has been anxious to get things up and running amid the terrible jobless numbers and the tanking stock market. He has based his re-election campaign on a strong U.S. economy.
Trump noted on Twitter Wednesday that the economy will be reopened ‘sooner rather than later.’
The viral outbreak is believed to have erased nearly one-third of the economy’s output in the current quarter.
About 95 percent, or 48 states, are now under some form of lockdown with non-essential businesses shutting down. Restaurants, hotels, department stores and small businesses have laid off millions as they struggle to pay bills at a time when their revenue has vanished.
The president said on Saturday he was thinking of forming the economic-focused group.
‘Thinking about it,’ he said. ‘Getting a group of people. And we have to open our country. You know, I had an expression: ‘The cure can’t be worse than the problem itself.’ Right? I started by saying that, and I continue to say it: The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.’
‘We’ve got to get our country open,’ he added.