Despite the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in his country, US President Donald Trump wants to rescind his government’s stay-at-home directives and get America back to work by April 12, regardless of what the doctors say.
“We’re going to be opening our country up for business because our country was meant to be open,” Trump said, adding that he was thinking in terms of weeks rather than months.
He also seemed to wave off concerns from medical experts.
“If it were up to the doctors, they may say: ‘Let’s keep it shut down. Let’s shut down the entire world’ ...And when we shut it down, that would be wonderful. And let’s keep it shut for a couple of years…. You know, you can’t do that. And you can’t do that with a country—especially the No. 1 economy in the world, by far.”
Some ideas under consideration by the White House, include a phased system that would see younger people return to the workplace first, keeping restrictions in place only on vulnerable people and senior citizens.
The White House could also lift the federal guidelines but explicitly endorse individual governors acting differently, or keep some federal guidelines in place but changing others to allow states more leeway.
Playing to his political base of conservative Christians, Trump said Easter was “a beautiful time” to lift the social distancing restrictions that are keeping Americans safe.
"I think Easter Sunday and you'll have packed churches all over our country, I think it would be a beautiful time. And it's just about the timeline I think is right," he said in an interview with Fox News, despite the dire warnings from his own medical experts.
On a separate occasion, he kept saying the cure must not be worse than the disease—a clear indication that he was chomping at the bit to send everybody back to work to get the economy moving again regardless of the consequences.
He also tried again to play down the magnitude of the problem by saying more Americans die every year from car accidents.
“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. So we have to do things to get our country open,” he said.
Ironically, Trump was talking about loosening up just as the World Health Organization said the US has the potential to be the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 continued to rapidly spread in many countries, including the United States, with cases worldwide topping 417,000. Since the last weekend, the US had the third-highest total confirmed cases in the world, with more than 53,000, more than half of which are in New York State.
There, the state governor said the new cases were doubling every three days and showing no signs of slowing down, while the number of deaths has climbed to at least 210.
Now, to put things in terms Trump might understand, if the number of car accidents doubled every three days, people would certainly stop driving them until they figured out what was wrong. Wishful thinking has no place in a global medical crisis. If you are the leader of “the No. 1 economy in the world, by far,” it’s downright irresponsible.