Top Trump Administration Official Says US Won’t Shut Down Economy Again

June 12, 2020 Updated: June 12, 2020

A top economic official in President Donald Trump’s administration said Friday that the United States will not shut down the economy again, as he asserted the country isn’t seeing another wave of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“I’m not the health expert. But on the so-called spike, I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening. They are saying there is no second spike,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

“Secretary Mnuchin said yesterday in testimony, and I totally agree: we are not going to shut down the economy,” he added.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that local and state governments shouldn’t close down businesses and schools if a second wave takes place.

“I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage,” he said.

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Excalibur Hotel & Casino employees line up and applaud as guests are let into the Las Vegas Strip property for the first time since being closed in mid-March amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Las Vegas, Nev., on June 11, 2020. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Certain spots are seeing small increases in new cases, Kudlow said, including metropolitan areas.

Health officials “are all over it” and have sent personnel to those areas, he added.

“But if you look nationally, the important point is the rate of increase of new cases is between 0 and 1 percent, it’s really flattened out. And with respect to fatalities, it’s the same.”

The shutdowns crippled the U.S. economy, leading to tens of millions of Americans losing their jobs.

All governors have relaxed measures implemented in a bid to slow the spread of the virus but varying levels of restrictions remain in place in most states. Fears of spikes from early reopenings, including relaxations in Georgia and Florida, didn’t materialize.

Some states have been reporting increases in new CCP virus cases, Dr. Jay Butler, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 response incident manager, told reporters in a phone call later Friday.

But health officials don’t just take those numbers at face value, looking at more important figures like hospitalizations and check-ins to emergency rooms for influenza-like illnesses.

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A cyclist bikes around Columbus Circle in New York, N.Y., June 12, 2020. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

“Right now, in looking nationally again, the hospitalization rates are going down, and in most of the places that we’ve looked at the increase in the recent week or two in the number of cases diagnosed, we’re not confirming dramatic increases in the number of hospitalizations,” Butler said.

That doesn’t mean that officials aren’t concerned about the increase, he added.

Butler also posited that localities that experience rising cases and hospitalizations could resort to the harsh measures implemented early in the pandemic, including shutting down so-called non-essential businesses and forcing people to largely remain inside their homes.

“If cases being to go up again—particularly if they go up dramatically—it’s important to recognize that more intense mitigation efforts, such as what were implemented back in March, may be needed again,” he said.

Those decisions would be p to local officials based on “what is happening within the community regarding these transmissions.”

Based on serology data, most Americans still haven’t been exposed to the virus, the health official said.

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