Deciding when to reopen the country will be “the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make,” President Trump said Friday, cautioning he wouldn’t do so until it’s absolutely safe, despite hopeful signs that the pandemic’s spread could be slowing.
“I’m going to have to make a decision, and I only hope to God that it’s the right decision,” Trump said.
“Without question it’s the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.”
After previously hoping to get Americans working again by Easter Sunday, Trump conceded Friday that it would be best to follow his health experts’ advice.
“We’re not doing anything until we know that this country is going to be healthy. We don’t want to go back and start doing it over again,” Trump said.
Trump said he would be announcing the launch of what he called an “Opening our Country” task force next Tuesday to work toward that goal.
“I want to get it open as soon as possible,” he said, adding “The facts are going to determine what I do.”
The US has recorded nearly 18,600 coronavirus deaths, with nearly 40 percent taking place in New York, the country’s outbreak epicenter.
Still, Trump pointed to “tremendous progress” that could translate to fewer deaths than his administration previously predicted.
The number of people in intensive care in New York dropped for the first time since mid-March. And overall hospitalizations are also slowing, with 290 new patients admitted in a single day, compared to daily increases of more than 1,000 last week.
“In the midst of grief and pain, we’re seeing clear signs that our aggressive strategy is saving countless lives,” he said.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has stressed that restarting the US mustn’t come too soon, or else Americans could suffer a resurgence of the virus.
Fauci said a team will be performing daily data analysis on the virus and presenting information to the president to help inform the decision-making process.
“The virus kind of decides whether or not it’s appropriate to open it,” he said during an appearance on CNN. “The one thing you don’t want to do is you don’t want to get out there prematurely and then wind up backtracking.”
Even when the time comes, Fauci believes a bump in new cases will be inevitable.
“When we decide, at a proper time, when we’re going to be relaxing some of the restrictions, there’s no doubt you’re going to see cases,” he said. “The question is how you respond to them.”
With Post wires