Alwaght- Donald Trump said on Monday he intended to open the US from its coronavirus shutdown sooner than in three or four months, despite experts' prediction that the lockdown should last. The US President even said he might consider such an order when a White House-mandated 15-day period to shutter much of the economy ends next week.
"Our country wasn't built to be shut down," Trump said during an evening briefing at the White House. Once medical officials signal it is "okay," he added, "Let's get back to work."
Later came this presidential vow: "I'm not talking about months, I can tell you that." And even later, he appeared to mock his public health experts.
"If it were up to the doctors, they may say, 'Let's keep it shut down. Let's shut down the entire world,'" he said, sounding exasperated.
"We can't do that," Trump said.
Trump remarks came while Monday was the deadliest day in the US due to the Covid-19 disease. More than 100 new deaths reported on Moday.
More than 42,000 people in the United States have been infected with coronavirus, and at least 515 people have died.
At least 15 states have issued stay-at-home orders that are either in effect or will take effect this week. More than 137 million Americans live in states that will have those new rules in place by Wednesday.
And in other states, mayors in cities such as Denver and San Antonio are putting in place similar orders.
Appearing to know that local and state officials would not be bound by any presidential decree to "open" up the country, he said "governors will have a lot of leeway" on they respond.
Trump also said "it's going to get bad" while also touting the flu as possibly being a bigger killer, projecting influenza might cause 50,000 deaths in America this year. So far, there are over 500 coronavirus deaths. He also continued to focus on the virus outbreak's body count.
"You look at automobile accidents. Which are far greater than any numbers we're talking about. That doesn't mean we're going to tell everybody no more driving of cars," he said.
But last week, his top infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci said this about the car accidents comparison: ""That's totally way out... I don't think with any moral conscience you could say why don't we just let it rip and happen and let X percent of the people die." Mr Fauci was not at Monday evening's briefing.
Though Trump repeatedly on Monday signaled he is growing impatient with the situation, his own government has projected in its worst case scenario model that Americans could still be getting infected in December. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its most gloomy projection, estimates 160 million to 210 million Americans might be infected by Christmas. That said, other models from academic and other institutions offer a range of estimates, many falling somewhere in between the CDC's worst-case projection and Trump's indirect assessment that the threat is abated come summer.
Meantime, despite his own public health team urging caution, the president continued to pitch specific medications as possible solutions to treat COVID-19.
He again touted Chloroquine, used to treat malaria, saying without providing supporting data, that "there's a real chance it could have a tremendous impact."
"It would be a gift from God," he said, "and a real game changer."