President Donald Trump on Monday reassured Americans that life would eventually return to normal, in remarks at a press conference amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has threatened the livelihoods of Americans across the country.
More than a dozen U.S. states have issued “stay at home” orders in efforts to curb the spread of the highly infectious and potentially deadly respiratory disease.
“I want Americans to know that we will get through this challenge,” the president said. “The hardship will end, it will end soon normal life will return and our economy will rebound very very strongly. But right now in the midst of this great national trial Americans must remain united in purpose and focus on victory.”
Trump told reporters that his administration will monitor the situation and use public health data “to recommend new protocols to allow local economies to cautiously resume their activity at the appropriate time.”
“We also have a large team working on what the next steps will be once the medical community gives a region the OK—meaning the ‘OK’ to get going, to get back, let’s go to work,” Trump said. “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down.”
“This is not a country that was built for this. It was not built to be shut down,” he added.
Later in the press conference, Trump hinted that states facing relatively lower infection rates, like Nebraska, Idaho, and Iowa, may have a chance to have restrictions eased up on businesses, while other states facing higher COVID-19 cases such as New York may face restrictions for longer.
“America will again and soon be open for business, very soon, a lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting,” Trump said. “Lots sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. We’re not gonna let the cure be worse than the problem.”
“At the end of the 15-day period we’ll make a decision as to which way we want to go, where we want to go, the timing. And essentially we’re referring to the timing of the opening. Essentially the opening of our country,” he said. “Because we have it pretty well shut down in order to get rid of this invisible enemy.”
“Stay at home” orders have been issued over the past week in multiple U.S. states, affecting more than one in three U.S. residents, in efforts to curb the spread of the CCP virus that causes COVID-19. The states include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia, and Washington.
Residents are recommended to remain at home unless they need to leave for essential activities. Non-essential businesses have also been ordered closed. Each state has slight variations as to what qualifies as “essential,” but generally the list encompasses grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and basic health services.
The president said that critical supplies are on the way, with FEMA sending 8 million N95 respirator masks and 13.3 million surgical masks across the country, with a focus on areas with the greatest need.
“We’ve shipped 73 palettes of personal protective equipment to NYC and 36 palettes to the state of Washington,” Trump said. “In the past 96 hours FEMA’s also received donations of approximately 6.5 million masks, we’re having millions and millions of masks made as we speak.”
Trump urged Congress to focus “solely and squarely on the needs of the American people” and “avoid playing any more partisan games.”
“We are going to save American workers and we’re going to save them quickly,” Trump said, later adding: “This was a medical problem, we’re not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem. Started out as a purely medical problem and it’s not going to go beyond that. We’re just not going to allow that to happen.”
Congress passed an $8.3 billion emergency CCP virus spending package (pdf) in early March that Trump signed into law on March 6. The legislation enables funding to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and other prevention measures.
Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, enabling up to $50 billion in disaster relief funds to be provided to state and local governments to respond to the CCP virus pandemic.
The president on March 18 signed off on the House’s emergency aid package—the second such aid package in March—that provides paid sick and family leave for a number of Americans, free COVID-19 testing, and boost unemployment insurance.
On the same day, Trump said he was invoking the Defense Production Act to directly order firms to produce critical goods in response to the outbreak, allowing for the hastening of production of medical supplies like ventilators, masks, and test kits. Trump also directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to suspend evictions.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.