President Donald Trump said Tuesday he hopes to see America “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” which is April 12, signaling his interest in ending the stay-at-home guidelines issued to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
He made his comments during a town hall on Fox News, during which he discussed his own administration’s advice for Americans to stay in their homes for 15 days. Those 15 days will be over next week.
“I guess by Monday or Tuesday, it’s about two weeks. We will assess at that time and give it more time if we need a little more time. We have to open this country up,” he said.
When Trump suggested he wanted people back working by Easter, Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer said it would be “a great American resurrection.”
NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander offered more context on Twitter: “Re: Easter timeline. A WH official tells me Trump does *not* see that as a date by which he begins opening things up, but when the economy is speeding again. That means the loosening of restrictions would, under this scenario, still start much sooner.”
During the town hall, Trump said “we don’t turn the country off” because of the flu or car accidents,” comparisons that have been cautioned against by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. He said comparing the coronavirus to auto accidents is a “false equivalency” and that coronavirus is more lethal than the flu.
A few hours later during a press conference, Dr. Fauci added that the timeline “is really very flexible.”
“We just had a conversation with the president in the Oval Office talking about, you know, ‘You can look at a date but you’ve got to be very flexible.’ On a — literally — day-by-day and week-by-week basis, you need to evaluate the feasibility of what you’re trying to do,” he said.