“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.”
If it were up to the doctors, they may say, ‘Let’s keep it shut down. Let’s shut down the entire world,'” he said, sounding exasperated.
“We can’t do that,” Mr Trump said with his arms held straight out, for effect.
Appearing to know that local and state officials would not be bound by any presidential decree to “open” up the country, he said “governors will have a lot of leeway” on they respond.
It’s a change in tone that is drawing criticism from public health experts, who suggested Trump risks making a dangerous mistake if he sets up a conflict between public health and the nation’s economic well-being, given how unlikely it is that the threat posed by the virus will subside in another week.
If the U.S. stops social distancing too soon, “you will have more deaths and more dives in the stock market,” warned Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University, a lawyer with extensive public health expertise.
And the outbreak could come surging back once people return to their normal routines of commuting, working, dining out and socializing — further stressing the economy.
Meantime, despite his own public health team urging caution, the president continued to pitch specific medications as possible solutions to treat Coronavirus.
He again touted Chloroquine, used to treat malaria, saying without providing supporting data, that “there’s a real chance it could have a tremendous impact.”
“It would be a gift from God,” he said, “and a real game changer.”