Hours after more than 100 people in a single day died in the United States from the new coronavirus, President Trump said Monday that he plans to “reopen” the country and ease guidelines on social distancing, going against the advice of his own health experts.
His comments followed those of his surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, who delivered a chilling message Monday morning as the United States headed into another week of fighting the virus.
“I want America to understand — this week, it’s going to get bad,” Adams told NBC, adding that not everyone has been taking the proper precautions.
Trump said he wants to “reopen” the country for business in weeks, not months, and he claimed, without evidence, that continued closures could result in more deaths than the coronavirus pandemic.
“We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem,” Trump told reporters at a press briefing, echoing a midnight Sunday tweet. “We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems.”
Trump acknowledged there were trade-offs, “there’s no question about that,” but claimed that, if closures stretch on for months, there would be “probably more death from that than anything that we’re talking about with respect to the virus.”
The number of dead in the United States approached 600 Monday, increasing more that 100 in a single day for the first time since the virus struck the United States. A week ago, the death toll was 70.
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN on Monday morning that “In our public hospitals, our 11 public hospitals right now, this week, I can only guarantee you right now … that we get through this week with the equipment and supplies we have.”