Trump Hopes Country 'Open' Again by Easter

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, delivers remarks during a coronavirus update briefing Friday, March 20, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

 

At a Coronavirus Task Force briefing Tuesday evening, President Trump reiterated statements he made earlier in the day on a Fox News town hall interview when he indicated that he prefers to have the country “open” again by Easter Sunday, April 12.

“I would love to have the country opened up and raring to go by Easter,” Trump said.

A White House official later clarified the President’s remarks, reports NBC News.

A White House official said the president does not view Easter as a date that he can begin to open things up, but a date by which the economy is speeding again. That means the loosening of restrictions would, under this scenario, start much sooner. The official says the focus now remains on how to get there, in phases, to address the challenges demographically and geographically.

Trump told Fox News later Tuesday that he was targeting Easter because “you will have packed churches all over our country, I think it would be a beautiful time and it is just about the timeline that I think is right.”

What that would appear to indicate — suggested in part by Vice President Mike Pence in an interview with Fox News just prior to the President’s — is that the 15 day voluntary quarantine the administration asked for 9 days ago will be the first break in social distancing and business shut down. The final day of “15 days to slow the spread” is Monday, March 30.

New York is still grappling with a high COVID-19 case incidence, over 25 thousand as of Monday. But word that economic activity may slowly start to phase back in sooner rather than later — particularly in light of a stall on the third phase of a stimulus package in the Senate thanks to Democrat leaders’ last minute “wish list” demands — would have, in better times, been met with relief.

These are, apparently, not those times.

Reports have indicated that the mortality rate of COVID-19 may be higher than reported due to unreported mild cases. Reason has a pretty good rundown of the information (which includes information from Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force) which puts the mortality rate at between 0.1 percent and 1.0 percent.