President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the nation was ‘past the peak’ of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s killed 28,000 and infected 630,000 Americans in less than three months.
Eager to jumpstart the economy after COVID-19 prompted thousands of business closures, statewide stay-at-home orders and federal social distancing guidelines through April, Trump told reporters in the White House Rose Garden that he would announce new “guidelines for states on reopening the country” on Thursday afternoon.
“The battle continues, but the data suggests we are past the peak,” Trump said.
The president added that he and Vice President Mike Pence would speak with governors and economic leaders on Thursday to discuss the best ways to get the nation back to business as usual following the pandemic.
Americans this week are beginning to receive stimulus checks as part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest spending bill in U.S. history. But unemployment has continued to surge as consumers stay home and businesses remain shuttered due to the outbreak.
“With all of the stimulus and the pent up demand, we’re going to have an economy that’s going to come back very quickly,” Trump said. “It’s going to be more than a miracle. We’ll be the comeback kids.”
Some states, Trump said, would be ready to open up quicker than others.
“Governors are chomping at the bit,” Trump said.
Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the president’s top public health advisers, said the country has seen a decline in new cases “over the last five to six days.”
While some states have seen relatively little COVID-19 activity, Birx urged Americans to continue following tight social distancing guidelines.
“This is a highly contagious virus,” she said. “In social gatherings, there’s always a chance that an asymptotic person can spread the virus.”
If you want to get a dinner party of 20 together, “don’t do it, yet,” Birx added.
“We’re getting there, America,” Pence said, applauding Americans for following the Trump administration’s social distancing precautions as well as state and local directives. “We see great signs of progress from the East Coast to the West Coast.”
More than 45,000 Americans have recovered from the disease, Pence added. He urged those who have recovered to reach out to local health care providers and blood centers to donate plasma in case it contains antibodies that can combat the virus in other patients.
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