US President Donald Trump on Monday said his administration is looking at ways to ease economic restrictions it stressed just days earlier even as the US braces for a jump in coronavirus cases and states tighten restrictions on people and businesses.
“I’m not looking at months,” Trump said of the duration of social distancing guidelines that have led to school and business closures. “We will be back in business as a country pretty soon.”
Trump’s suggestion comes as others are taking their most strict measures yet. On Monday, four US states announced more rigid orders for residents and businesses, an International Olympic Committee member revealed this year’s games would be postponed and US deaths approached 600, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.
The federal government, Trump said, will use data “to recommend new protocols” to allow local economies to “cautiously resume their activity at the appropriate time.”
He did not say when those protocols would be rolled out as the coronavirus spreads across the US
The remarks were a major departure from Trump’s prediction just days ago that the guidelines could potentially be in place through the summer. Trump appeared to signal that parts of the country that are less hard hit could be placed under less strict guidelines than states like New York and California.
At the same time, Trump admitted the outbreak will only get worse in the US Trump said he agreed with his surgeon general’s prediction that the number of coronavirus cases would jump.
“This is going to be bad,” Trump said. “We’re trying to make it so it’s much, much less bad.”