“In the next few days, he will be making some very important announcements regarding those (social-distancing) guidelines,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told Fox Business Network.
“We want to get folks back to work,” he added. “We want to do it as quickly as possible. It has to be safe. It has to be driven by the data from our health specialists.”
Kudlow, when later fielding questions by reporters in the White House driveway, reiterated his conviction that within a few days, Trump would announce the guidelines on reopening the economy.
A reporter asked Kudlow what COVID-19 case metrics the administration would be looking at as decisive in making the determination to open the economy.
“It’ll be data-driven,” Kudlow said of the decision, adding that “the process is heavily dependent on data and we’ve always said that.”
At an April 13 White House briefing, Trump said the decision to reopen the economy would be done with safety in mind.
“We want to be very, very safe,” Trump said. “At the same time, we got to get our country open,” he said, adding that advisors from the business community have been called on to suggest an optimal path for reopening the economy.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, responding to a question about the risk of opening too early and seeing a spike in infections, said: “Well, of course, there’s economic risks in both directions. We reviewed with the President today a very broad list of over 100 business people that are going to help advise the President on what needs to be done to reopen the economy.”
Asked whether he was leaning towards an incremental opening or a sudden one, Trump said only: “I think it’s going to go quickly.”
“Our people want to get back to work, and I think there’s a pent-up demand like there hasn’t been in a long time,” he added.
Trump said critical progress was being made “in our war against the virus.”
“Over the weekend, the number of daily new infections remained flat nationwide. Flat. Hospitalizations are slowing in hotspots like New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Louisiana. This is clear evidence that our aggressive strategy to combat the virus is working and that Americans are following the guidelines,” Trump said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, said at the briefing that there were signs that in some areas the pandemic curve was flattening, shorthand for a reduction in the rate of new daily infections and a sign the outbreak is coming under control.
“We’re starting to see in some areas now that kind of flattening,” Fauci said, adding, “particularly in a place that was a hotspot like New York.”
“Things are starting to balance off,” he said.
Commenting on whether reopening would be sudden or incremental, Fauci said: “Some people may think it’s going to be like a light switch, on and off. You know, we’re either out and we’re in. It’s just not going to be that way because we have a very large country and there are different impacts.”
“So as we discuss and consider the public health aspects, it likely would be something that I refer to as sort of like a rolling reentry,” Fauci said. “It’s not going to be one size fits all.”
Asked what would happen if some state governors resisted moves to reopen the economy, Trump said “we’re going to work with the states because it’s very important,” but added that the ultimate decision rests with the office of the President.
“The President of the United States calls the shots,” Trump said, adding that he would “absolutely” take the advice of health experts before taking a decision.
“All states want to open and they want to open as soon as possible,” Trump insisted, adding, “But they want to open safely and so do I.”