President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his coronavirus task force would shift its primary focus to reviving U.S. business and social life, while acknowledging that reopening the economy could put more lives at risk.
What We Know:
- In a series of tweets, Trump said the White House task force he formed in March would not wind down, as he suggested on Tuesday, but would instead add some advisers and center its attention on “SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.”
- When asked if Americans will have to accept that reopening will lead to more deaths, Trump told reporters: “You have to be warriors. We can’t keep our country closed down for years and we have to do something. Hopefully, that won’t be the case, but it could very well be the case.”
- Public health experts warn of a new surge in cases if reopening occurs without vastly expanded diagnostic screening and a system to trace who has been in contact with newly infected patients, so they are also isolated and tested.
- University of Washington researchers on Monday revised their model to project nearly 135,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths by early August, almost double their previous forecast. The United States is already more than halfway there, with at least 71,000 lives lost to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, out of 1.2 million-plus Americans known to be infected according to the latest tally.
“If you undermine science, if you underfund testing, if you exaggerate the opportunity that is out there for the economy at the risk of people dying, that’s not a plan. Death is not an economic motivator, stimulus. So why are we going down that path?” – Nancy Pelosi
- Anthony Fauci, the nations top infectious disease expert and best-known member of Trump’s task force, acknowledged he was losing the argument against reopening the country too quickly.
- While New York State, New Jersey and other early U.S. hotspots have lowered their infection curves since mid-April, several states, mainly in the Midwest, have posted sharp spikes in new cases and deaths. Minnesota has set a record for new cases nine out of the last 14 days, including 728 cases on Wednesday.
- As part of its new mission of spurring economic revival, Trump tweeted that the panel would remain “very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics”- two areas crucial to long-term normalcy.
- Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who has clashed with Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp over his moves to reopen, voiced alarm at seeing throngs of people out celebrating the annual Cinco de Mayo holiday on Tuesday.
- Democratic governors of hard-hit states have at times clashed with Trump over easing restrictions.
- Los Angeles’ downtown flower market opened on Wednesday for the first time since the shutdown after the city’s mayor gave some businesses the green light.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state is the worst hit by far, has outlined criteria for relaxing restrictions after a three-week decline in hospitalizations and a downward trend in the death count.
The number of U.S. cases are growing nationwide by 2-to-4 percent every day, and the number of deaths still average nearly 2,000 deaths per day.