For weeks the media has asked President Donald Trump when America will overcome COVID-19 – and he finally has an estimate.
Easter, he told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer in a virtual town hall outside the White House. If we’re lucky, that is.
Trump said he is hoping the United States will be reopened by Easter as he weighs how to relax nationwide social-distancing guidelines to put some workers back on the job during the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump’s optimism is a contrast in tone among some public health officials who called for stricter — not looser — restrictions on public interactions.
But federal officials have noted that things could change for areas not experiencing widespread infection.
With lives and the economy hanging in the balance, Trump said Tuesday he was already looking toward easing the advisories that have sidelined workers, shuttered schools and led to a widespread economic slowdown.
“I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he said.
“Wouldn’t it be great to have all of the churches full?” Trump said in a subsequent interview. “You’ll have packed churches all over our country.”
Although hospital systems are being tested beyond their capacity, and health workers have been sidelined by exposure — Trump addressed the nation, saying he was beginning “to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Trump’s comments came even as White House officials urged people who have left New York City amid the outbreak to self-quarantine for 14 days after their departure, owing to the widespread rate of infection in the metro area. It also follows on the president encouraging lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass a roughly $2 trillion stimulus package — estimated at roughly $6 trillion once the Federal Reserve’s actions are included — to ease the financial pain for Americans and hard-hit industries.