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Despite surge in coronavirus cases, Trump wants US economy open by Easter

Published Mar 24, 2020

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Washington - US President Donald Trump

pressed his case on Tuesday for a re-opening of the US economy

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by mid-April despite a surge in coronavirus cases, downplaying

the pandemic as he did in its early stages by comparing it to

the seasonal flu.

Trump and his coronavirus team on March 16 put in place

recommendations for people across the country to cut down social

and professional interactions for 15 days in a bid to reduce the

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virus' spread.

But the president, a Republican who is seeking re-election

in November, has begun to chafe at the economic repercussions.

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During a live town hall broadcast on Fox News Channel, he

said he would like to have businesses opening their doors again

by Easter, which will be celebrated on April 12.

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"I would love to have the country opened up and just raring

to go by Easter," he said.

The president said the country did not take drastic measures

to fight car crashes and flu deaths similar to those it is

taking for the coronavirus. He said Americans could continue

practicing social-distancing measures, which health experts say

are crucial to prevent infection, while also going back to work.

"We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the

flu. We don't turn the country off," Trump said. "You can

destroy a country this way by closing it down."

The president has come under criticism from fellow

Republicans and others for saying he would like to reopen the

economy, even as the Pentagon and others forecast the outbreak

could last for months.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, told CNN on

Tuesday: "We don't think that we're going to be in any way ready

to be out of this in five or six days or so, or whenever this 15

days is up from the time that they started this imaginary

clock."

Fox has come under criticism for its own treatment of the

virus as some opinion program hosts played it down in the early

period of its spread.

The president, who said early on in the crisis that the

virus was under control, has been stunned by its impact on the

economy and the stock market.

"Our people want to return to work," he said on Twitter

earlier on Tuesday. "They will practice Social Distancing and

all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively &

lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE

WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM!"

Trump and his economic and health advisers are mulling how

to proceed after the 15-day period of tough measures to slow the

pandemic.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, speaking to

reporters at the White House, said the Trump administration was

looking at low-infection areas where the economy might be

reopened after a 15-day shutdown period ends next week. 

Reuters

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