President Donald Trump has said he wants Americans to open up by Easter, which is just a couple of weeks away and some experts believe it is sufficient to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, he told Fox News that he was eager to see the country return to normal soon. However, medical professionals have warned that the country would see a rapid surge in cases of people return to crowded events or workplaces.
Suggesting that he was ready to phase out his 15-day self-quarantine period, Trump said, “I give it two weeks. I guess by Monday or Tuesday, it’s about two weeks. We will assess at that time and give it more time if we need a little more time. We have to open this country up.”
Some Republicans such as Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa have been sounding the alarm.
Cheney tweeted, “There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus.”
Many public health officials have been expressing their concerns over easing the social distancing guidelines in the next week.
Trump has announced that the country would reopen by Easter, but he has not made a final decision on when the guidelines would be eased to get the nation back up and running.
According to reports, Trump’s advisers have urged him to make Easter more of an “aspirational date” as of now.
Nevertheless, some sources say it is unlikely that Trump will ease the social distancing guidelines next week even though the current 15-day self-quarantine period is about to end.
Trump clarified that it is his idea to suggest Easter and not that of his medical experts. He said, “I thought it was a beautiful time. A beautiful timeline.”
Easter falls on April 12, which is a probable date by which the Americans would again be “raring to go.”
The President said he would listen closely to Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx who are leading the White House coronavirus task force. He said, “We’ll only do it if it’s good. We’ll do large sections of the country.”
Dr. Fauci told reporters, “We just had a conversation with the President in the Oval Office. You can look at a date but you gotta be very flexible.”
“Obviously, no one is going to want to tone down things when you see things going on like in NYC,” he added.
Trump’s announcement came hours after the New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state has been expecting a surge in coronavirus cases the next two or three weeks.
Dr. Birx was asked whether she thinks the Easter deadline is a realistic one. She said, “A lot of what we’ve done is tackle this epidemic the way people said we should have tackled the flu in 1918,” adding that the President has asked the task force to use these two weeks “to get all the data from around the country.” “Every American needs to continue the President’s guidelines for these next six or seven days,” she added.