President Donald Trump said Monday he will reconsider the nation’s social distancing policy within a matter of days and promised America will be open for business ‘very soon.’
The president has indicated he supports a return to normal life.
‘America will, again, and soon, be open for business. Very soon,’ President Trump said at the daily White House coronavirus briefing. ‘A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. Lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. We’re not going to let the cure be worse than the problem.’
As the president talked economics and down played the medical portion, he was surrounded by fewer than usual numbers of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Attorney General Bill Barr and Dr. Deborah Birx were present. Dr. Tony Fauci, the nation’s foremost expert in infectious diseases, was not.
President Trump complained about the caution brought by health care professionals, saying he told his team they would close the ‘entire world.’
‘I was telling them, if it was up to the doctors, they would keep it shut down, they would say “let’s shut down the entire world.”‘ You can’t do that,’ he said.
The president argued the nation could watch ‘hot spots’ were there high levels of infection while opening other parts of the country.
‘We’re going to be watching very closely the hot spots. We’re going to be taking care and watching closely our senior citizens, especially those with a problem or illness. We’re going to be watching them very, very closely. And we can do that and have an open economy, have an open country,’ he said.
Trump was asked if Fauci agreed with his emphasis on the economy.
‘He doesn’t not agree,’ the president replied.
‘‘He understands there is a tremendous cost to our country both in terms of lives and in terms of economics and in terms of many years of rebuilding something that was a fine-tuned machine, it was nobody’s fault, it just happened, this horrible virus came from wherever and it just happened. Just happen. He fully understands that. He’s a good man. I like Dr. Fauci a lot, just so you understand. He is not here because we are discussing what he is best at but he will be back very soon,’ he added.
But despite his words of praise for Fauci, President Trump wouldn’t commit to listening to him or Birx.
‘Ultimately I have to make a decision but I certainly listen to them in a number of people. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Fauci and for Dr. Birx and I’ll be listening to them and others that are really doing a good job,’ he said
Trump announced a new set of policies on Monday, March 16, meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus, that included closing restaurants and no social gatherings over 10 people.
He said that situation will be reassessed at the 15-day mark, which would be early next week. Some medical experts have warned the United States needs to practice extreme containment measures for several weeks or months to ensure the spread of the virus is stopped.
‘At the end of the 15-day period, we’ll make a decision as to which way we want to go. Where we want to go. The timing. And essentially, we’re referring to the timing of the opening. Essentially, the opening of our country. Because we have it pretty well shut down in order to get rid of this invisible enemy,’ he said of the coronavirus.
The United States has had more than 41,000 cases of the virus but Trump said those numbers will start to decrease.
‘Obviously, the numbers are going to increase with time. And then they’re going to start to decrease. And we are going to be opening our country up for business because our country was meant to be open,’ he said.
President Donald Trump said he will reconsider the nation’s social distancing policy within a matter of days
The area in front of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, where tourists often line up to take photos, is shown empty as most businesses in the area are closed as a result of the statewide shutdown due to the spread of the coronavirus
A man crosses trafficless section of Queens Blvd in the Sunnyside section of Queens, NY, after a ‘stay home’ order and the closing of all non-essential businesses
Families practice social distancing while waiting in line at West Oakland Middle school in Oakland, California, to pick up ‘grab and go’ meals during the coronavirus shutdown
People descend down the Bethesda Metro train station escalator at commuter rush hour, as Governor Larry Hogan ordered the shutdown of all bars and eateries in Maryland
A sign announcing the closure of the Koret Playground is seen in Golden Gate Park in California
People walk at safe distances on Venice Beach in California
President Trump has been clear he’s worried about the economic affect coming from all the businesses being shuttered because of the pandemic. Numerous states have closed restaurants, gyms, bars, and clubs. The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. States like California and New York have advised people to stay home as much as possible.
He argued Monday a bad economy could also cause death.
‘You have almost 160 million jobs in this country now, by far the most ever. The number of jobs, almost 160 million, so we can’t turn that off and think it’s going to be wonderful. There’ll be tremendous repercussions. There will be tremendous death from that. You’re talking about death. Probably more death from that than anything we’re talking about with respect to the virus,’ he said.
Some experts have predicted the U.S. could experience up to 20 per cent or 30 per cent unemployment because of the coronavirus.
But the president said it would not be just an economic decision to reopen, promising medical experts would have input.
‘We, also, have a large team working on what the next steps will be once the medical community gives a region the okay. Meaning the okay to get going, to get back, let’s go to work,’ he said.
President Trump has taken up the argument that the cure cannot be worse than the disease, referring to the damage inflicted on the U.S. economy.
‘I think the cure has been very tough. This has been very tough,’ he said Monday at the briefing. ‘This was an operation. This was somebody going to a doctor and saying you need an operation, and you’ve had an operation and we’ve learned a lot. And we’ve fixed a lot of problems.’
He also argued Americans have learned a lot about preventing disease, such as washing hands and keeping six feet away from one another. Trump said such practices may continue long after the coronavirus is gone.
‘We’ve learned a lot. There’s a great discipline this whole country has learned having to do with discipline, with shaking hands. I think a lot of it is going to stay long after the virus is gone. I think it’s probably good practice anyway but I think it’s going to stay long after the virus is gone. But we have to open our country,’ he said.
Earlier Monday, the president retweeted demands from people to be allowed to go back to work when the 15 days his administration recommended are finished.
Trump’s push for a return to normal comes as the economy is tanking and Dr. Tony Fauci, a leading expert on infectious diseases who is part of the White House’s coronavirus task force, warned that social distancing may last ‘several weeks.’
Additionally, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned Monday it get worse.
‘This week, it’s going to get bad,’ Adams told NBC’s ‘Today Show.’ ‘We really, really need everyone to stay at home.’
He advised patience.
‘We know it’s going to be a while before life gets back to normal,’ he told CBS ‘This Morning.’
Trump, however, took to social media Monday morning, where he retweeted a variety of people with a different view, including a sex counselor who wrote: ‘The fear of the virus cannot collapse our economy that President Trump has built up. We The People are smart enough to keep away from others if we know that we are sick or they are sick! After 15 days are over the world can begin to heal!’
He also pushed another suggestion that only high-risk groups isolate after the 15 days in the guidelines he recommended have expired: ’15 days. Then we isolate the high risk groups and the rest of us get back to work before it’s all over for everyone!!’
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned Monday the coronavirus situation is going to get worse and advised people to stay home
The president’s advocating a return to work comes as federal reserve board member warned unemployment could hit 30 per cent because of the virus and Federal Reserve announced new programs Monday morning to keep businesses afloat.
It also reflects an increasing fear that the medical precautions have devastated the economy.
Trump is basing his re-election effort on a strong U.S. economy.
The president hinted at his changing thought pattern late Sunday night when he said the administration will make a decision at the end of a 15-day period on ‘which way we want to go’ to fight coronavirus, implying that the country could re-open.
‘We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,’ he said on Twitter.
That tweet reflects advice offered by conservative commentator Steve Hilton, the former communications director for ex-British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Hilton wrote in an op-ed for Fox News that ‘You know, that famous phrase? ‘The cure is worse than the disease.’ That is exactly the territory we are hurtling towards. You think it is just the coronavirus that kills people? This total economic shutdown will kill people.’
He argued that ‘a family thrown out of their home — the mom gets sick, the kids are orphans — her death won’t be counted. The dad who has been out of work for 30 years and finally got a job last month, and now he is back on the scrap heap and turning back to drinking and drugs — his death won’t show up in a neat little box on cable news. Poverty kills. Despair kills. This shutdown is deadly.’
‘Keep the ban on large gatherings, but stop the total shutdown for everyone and start the total protection of the elderly and those most likely to need hospitalization. Don’t turn a public health crisis into America’s worst catastrophe,’ he concluded. ‘Save small businesses. Flatten the curve, but not the economy, and do it before it’s too late.’
But Trump’s position conflicts with that of Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who warned on Friday that the isolation may need to continue.
‘If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks in other areas it’s at least going to be several weeks,’ he told NBC’s ‘Today Show.’
‘I cannot see that all of a sudden next week or two weeks from now it’s going to be over,’ he said. ‘I don’t think there’s a chance of that — I think it’s going to be several weeks.’
Medical experts, including Dr. Tony Fauci, have warned that it may take ‘several weeks’ of social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus
The White House, in guidelines released last week, discouraged gatherings of 10 or more people and urged bars and restaurants to close.
Trump has said that recommendation would be revisited on ‘Day 14’ as to whether or not it needs to continue.
Hard hit areas, such as New York, California, and Illinois, have even tougher restrictions where residents have been told to stay at home.
There have been more than 33,000 cases across the U.S. and more than 400 deaths.
The disconnect between the president and medical experts come as Fauci admitted that he has to tell President Trump facts four times to get his point across and that he will ‘keep pushing’ to correct any inaccuracies about the coronavirus that are relayed by the White House.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in an interview with Science that ‘when you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things 1,2,3,4 times, and then it happens. So I’m going to keep pushing.’
He said that he tries to correct Trump when the president makes errors but he ‘can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down.’
He also criticized the president for publicly shaking hands with people, saying: ‘I say that to the task force. I say that to the staff. We should not be doing that.’
‘Not only that – we should be physically separating a bit more on those press conferences.’
His comments come just one day after he admitted he has been ‘walking a fine line’ by publicly contradicting Trump in an interview with the New York Times.
Dr. Tony Fauci said he has to tell President Trump things as many as four times before it will sink in
Dr Anthony Fauci was caught smirking at President Donald Trump during a coronavirus press conference on Friday, further fueling rumors of tension between the pair
He was also forced to publicly row back on the president’s claims that the anti-malarial drug cloroquine offered a potential cure for coronavirus in the latest of a series of public rebukes.
He said that telling Trump ‘things he doesn’t want to hear’ was a ‘risky business.’
Fauci said that he tried not to ’embarrass Trump’ and said that he attempts to deal with the president by ‘continually’ talking about scientific facts.
‘I don’t want to act like a tough guy, like I stood up to the president,’ he said.
‘I just want to get the facts out. And instead of saying, ‘You’re wrong,’ all you need to do is continually talk about what the data are and what the evidence is.’
The health expert admitted that the tactic was ‘risky’ but maintained: ‘I say it the way it is, and if he’s gonna get pissed off, he’s gonna get pissed off.
‘Thankfully, he is not. Interestingly,’ he said.
And Fauci insisted that Trump was not offended by his advice.
He told the Times: ‘He’s a smart guy. He’s not a dummy. So he doesn’t take it — certainly up to now — he doesn’t take it in a way that I’m confronting him in any way. He takes it in a good way.’
Fauci said that he had been working round the clock as the coronavirus crisis unfolds. As of Sunday night, there were 35,214 confirmed cases in the U.S. of the infection, which was blamed for 471 known deaths.
‘I’m exhausted,’ he said. ‘About a week ago, I was going about four or five days in a row on about three hours of sleep, which is completely crazy ’cause then I’ll be going on fumes.
‘The last couple of nights, I’ve gotten five hours’ sleep, so I feel much better.’
In response to speculation that he had been banished from the White House when he disappeared from press briefings for two days in the past week , he said: ‘That’s kind of funny but understandable that people said, ‘What the hell’s the matter with Fauci?’ because I had been walking a fine line.
Dr. Fauci said President Trump isn’t offended by his advice as he’s a ‘smart guy’ who takes it in the right way it is meant
‘I’ve been telling the president things he doesn’t want to hear. I have publicly had to say something different with what he states.’
On Friday Fauci appeared to roll his eyes and suppress laughter as Trump lashed out at the State Department, describing them as the ‘Deep State department’.
Dr Fauci then placed his hand over his face, in what many described as a ‘face palm’ reaction to Trump’s inflammatory remarks.
Video of the incident was shared across Twitter, with many commenting on the doctor’s body language.
In recent weeks, Dr Fauci has garnered a reputation for repeatedly contradicting Trump’s claims about coronavirus.
On Thursday, the president said that there had been positive results after doctors trialed chloroquine on COVID-19 patients, and suggested the drug could be a ‘game-changer’.
‘It’s shown very, very encouraging early results. We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. It’s been approved,’ Trump said.
However, a few hours later Fauci told CNN: ‘There’s no magic drug for coronavirus right now’.
‘Let me put it into perspective for the viewers .. there has been anecdotal non-proven data that it [chloroquine] works… but when you have an uncontrolled trial you can never definitely say that it works’.