US President Donald Trump acknowledged there will be “some” deaths due to states reopening businesses and other activities — a move he has been pushing — as coronavirus cases continue to mount in the US.
In an interview with ABC News as Trump traveled to Arizona to visit a business that makes masks, reporter David Muir asked the president whether “lives will be lost to reopen the country.”
“It’s possible there will be some, because you won’t be locked into an apartment or a house,” Trump said. “But at the same time we’re gonna practice social distancing, we’re gonna be washing hands.”
“We have to get our country back,” Trump said, claiming people are “dying the other way, too,” citing suicides, drug abuse and the effects of lost jobs. “We have to bring it back and that’s what we’re doing.”
“We can’t sit in the house for the next three years,” he said later in the interview, per ABC news.
Trump has been pushing for states to reopen their economies and several of them — including Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and South Carolina — have done so in modified ways in recent days, even as public health experts warn that such moves could lead to an increase in coronavirus cases.
A Trump administration document obtained by The New York Times predicted a steady increase in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, with the daily death toll mounting from the current figure of about 1,750 to about 3,000 by June.
In an apparent bout of wishful thinking by the president, Trump also said in the interview that the virus “will pass, with or without a vaccine.”
“I think we’re doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it’s going to pass, and we’re going to be back to normal,” Trump said.
Trump has repeatedly made such claims about an end to the pandemic, including saying in February that the virus might “miraculously” be gone by April, and in March and last month asserting without evidence that it is “going to go away.”
The US leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths. As of Tuesday, the nation had about 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases, the disease caused by the coronavirus, with more than 70,000 deaths.
As right-wing protesters have taken to the streets in dozens of cities in recent weeks to demand states reopen businesses, in many cases flouting public health orders for social distancing and mask-wearing, Trump has described them as “great people.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, a leading infectious disease expert on the White House’s coronavirus task force, described a recent protest of Michigan’s stay-at-home order as “devastatingly worrisome.”