President Donald Trump on Thursday said the United States will not shut down if there is another COVID-19 wave.
“People say that’s a very distinct possibility. It’s standard. And we’re going to put out the fires,” Trump told reporters when he was touring a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan. He was asked about whether he’s concerned about a second wave of the virus.
But Trump added a caveat, saying that “we’re not going to close the country,” and “we’re going to put out the fires.”
Trump expressed confidence in the United States being able to contain future CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreaks.
“Whether it’s an ember or a flame, we’re going to put it out. But we’re not closing our country,” the president said.
Currently, data shows that more than 90,000 people in the United States have died from the virus so far. Starting in March, a number of governors have imposed strict lockdowns, leading to layoffs and business closures.
Trump made the remarks while touring the Ford plant, which is currently making ventilators in response to the pandemic.
But over the past month or so, all 50 states have started some level of reopening, including New York, the state with the most COVID-19 deaths.
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits in the two months since the coronavirus took hold in the United States has swelled to nearly 39 million, the government reported Thursday, even as states from coast to coast gradually reopen their economies and let people go back to work. More than 2.4 million people filed for unemployment last week in the latest wave of layoffs from the business shutdowns that have brought the economy to its knees, the Labor Department said.
That brings the running total to a staggering 38.6 million, a job-market collapse unprecedented in its speed.
The number of weekly applications has slowed for seven straight weeks. Yet the figures remain breathtakingly high—10 times higher than normal before the crisis struck.
And the continuing rise shows that even though all states have begun reopening over the past three weeks, employment has yet to snap back and the outbreak is still damaging businesses and destroying jobs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.