Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says President Donald Trump’s hopes to reopen the country by Easter was an “aspirational target,” and insisted the president would not rush efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
“We don’t want to destroy the economy. On the other hand, we’ve got to take care of the health and safety of all Americans,” Kudlow said in a phone interview Wednesday evening with The Hill. “To me, the two should go together. They go hand in hand. Health safety; economic safety. Health security; economic security.”
Trump earlier Tuesday told Fox News “we’re opening up this incredible country, because we have to do that,” a comment he was criticized heavily for.
“I would love to have that,” he continued. “It’s such an important day for other reasons, but I’d love to make it an important day for this. I would love to have the country opened up, and rarin’ to go by Easter.”
But Kudlow in his interview with The Hill assured the target date – April 12 – was not a “hard and fast rule or target.”
“There’s certainly a clamor to somehow open the economy back up,” Kudlow said. “But we can’t do that unless we’re certain that people are safe.”
Millions of Americans have been asked to shelter at home as confirmed cases of the virus continue to surge – as of Wednesday more than 471,000 people worldwide had been infected by the virus and over 22,283 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., more than 200 deaths from COVID-19 were reported, a new high for fatalities recorded in a single day.
The dramatic spike brought the number of novel coronavirus deaths since the outbreak reached the U.S. in late January to at least 921.
More than 68,000 people have tested positive for the virus in the U.S.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a prominent member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, on Tuesday said Trump’s timeline for the lifting of restrictions should be “flexible.”
“You can look at a date, but you’ve got to be very flexible and on a literally day-by-day and week-by-week basis,” Fauci said. “You need to evaluate the feasibility of what you’re trying to do.”